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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 126696 Find in a Library
Title: Reform of the Belgian Penal Code (From Criminal Law in Action: An Overview of Current Issues in Western Societies, P 135-146, 1988, Jan van Dijk, Charles Haffmans, et al., eds. -- See NCJ-126687)
Author(s): R Legros
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 12
Sponsoring Agency: Kluwer Law International
Norwell, MA 02061
Sale Source: Kluwer Law International
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Type: Survey (Cross-Cultural)
Language: French
Country: Netherlands
Annotation: The article outlines a preliminary plan by the Royal Reform Commission to reform the Belgian penal code of 1867.
Abstract: Although the code of 1867 is still considered a piece of model legislation, the need for simplification has become obvious. Inspired by the neo-classical school of criminal justice, the code emphasizes logic and theory above real-life situations and creates many artificial distinctions -- for example, an unnecessarily long list of different types of murders and thefts. In addition, the old code is firmly grounded in a concept of morality which, especially in areas of public conduct and sexuality, has become outdated. On the other hand, new offenses -- such as traffic offenses -- have been added to the code, which are based on the protection of the public rather than any concept of good or evil. While the public, faced with increasing crime problems, calls for more severe punishments of offenders, numerous European reform commissions have stated that imprisonment is, in general, not an effective way to deal with crime. Although Belgian reformers cannot abolish imprisonment, they should grant judges more discretion to adapt sentences to the personality of the offender and consider alternatives in cases of short prison terms. Although some laws (for example, concerning victim compensation, rape, adultery, abortion, police use of firearms) have already been reformed because of their special urgency, numerous issues remain to be considered until the completion of the reform.
Main Term(s): Criminal codes
Index Term(s): Belgium; Criminal justice system reform; Foreign criminal codes; Law reform
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