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Femicide made a distinct crime under new law

femicide

Parliament on Thursday passed a law making femicide a distinct crime punishable by an up-to lifetime jail sentence.

The bill passed with 38 votes for, four against.

The legislation had been tabled by House Speaker Annita Demetriou.

Speaking on the House floor, Demetriou said nine killings of women occurred in 2019, five in 2020, and one so far this year.

“Every number corresponds to a woman,” she said. “They all lost their lives because they were women, from men whom they trusted or who exerted power over them.”

For her part, Disy MP Rita Superman said motive should constitute an integral part when passing sentence on a crime.

“It is not about feminism, it is about human rights,” she noted.

Under the new law, in calculating and passing sentence for the offence of femicide, a court will take into account as an aggravating factor that the death occurred as a result of violence by a sexual partner, torture or misogynistic violence, domestic violence or honour-based violence.

Aggravating factors will also include cases when the death occurred as a result of violence motivated by religious beliefs, sexual orientation and/or gender identity as well as the commission of the offence of female genital mutilation, violence for the purpose of or in the context of sexual exploitation and/or trafficking in persons and/or drug trafficking and/or organised crime.

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