Crime - New World Encyclopedia
also defined in s.2 of the Criminal Code to include private prosecutors. This .. The same right is conferred on a private prosecutor in relation to appeals by. way: 'an offence which goes beyond the personal and into the public sphere, breaking prohibitory rules crime. As the Oxford English Dictionary definition makes clear, the law ultimately defines what is and is and relationships. For example. National Labor Relations, and infringement of patents . in the definition of crime, and each of the adverse .. law is explicitly a criminal law and a vio- lation of.
For example, abortiononce prohibited except in the most unusual circumstances, is now lawful in many countries, as is homosexual behaviour in private between consenting adults in most Western countries, though it remains a serious offense in some parts of the world. Once criminal, suicide and attempted suicide have been removed from the scope of criminal law in some jurisdictions. Indeed, in the U. Nonetheless, the general trend has been toward increasing the scope of criminal law rather than decreasing it, and it has been more common to find that statutes create new criminal offenses rather than abolishing existing ones.
New technologies have given rise to new opportunities for their abuse, which has led to the creation of new legal restrictions. Just as the invention of the motor vehicle led to the development of a whole body of criminal laws designed to regulate its use, so the widening use of computers and especially the Internet has created the need to legislate against a variety of new abuses and frauds—or old frauds committed in new ways.
Common law In most countries, the criminal law is contained in a single statute, known as the criminal, or penal, code. Although the criminal codes of most English-speaking countries are derived from English criminal law, England itself has never had a criminal code. English criminal law still consists of a collection of statutes of varying age—the oldest still in force being the Treason Act —and a set of general principles that are chiefly expressed in the decisions of the courts case law.
The first effort —53 was made by two panels of criminal-law commissioners, who systematically surveyed the prevailing state of the criminal law. Confronted by a vast number of often overlapping and inconsistent statutes, the commissioners found that determining precisely what the law provided on any particular topic was enormously difficult.
Different statutes covering the same conduct, often with widely varying penalties, allowed for wide judicial discretion and inconsistency in punishments.
The commissioners drew up a number of draft codes that were presented to Parliamentbut none was enacted. Because those statutes were consolidations rather than codifications, many of the inconsistencies of the earlier legislation were preserved. The Offences Against the Person Act is still largely in force, though the others have been replaced by more-modern provisions. Interest in codification was not limited to England. A similar process ensued in India, then under British rule, and a criminal code was written during the s and eventually enacted in The code remains substantially in force in India, as well as in Pakistan.
Certain parts of Africa that were once British colonies also adopted similar codes. In England, efforts to establish a criminal code resumed in the late s, and in —80 a draft criminal code bill was again presented to Parliament.
Largely the work of the celebrated legal author and judge James Fitzjames Stephenthis code received widespread publicity throughout England and its colonial possessions. Although it was not adopted in England, it was subsequently enacted in Canada and in several Australian states and British colonies. As interest in codification declined in the 20th century, attempts were made to make specific and particular changes in criminal laws. The permanent Criminal Law Revision Committee, established ineventually made a variety of specific recommendations, including the elimination of the distinction between felonies and misdemeanours.
In addition, the Law Commission, also a permanent body, was established in with the goal of continually reviewing the entire law, not just the criminal law. In the commission undertook a new attempt at codification of the criminal law, and a draft code was published in However, it was severely criticized, and the commission dropped the attempt and instead produced a series of more-specific recommendations. Criminal-law reform was one of the interests of the U.
In the early s, a comprehensive draft code was prepared for Louisiana, though it was never enacted. Other states also moved to codify their criminal laws. New York enacted a criminal code insetting an example that was eventually followed by most of the states. Because American criminal law is primarily a matter for the individual states in contrast to Canada, for example, where the national Parliament enacts the criminal code for the whole countrythere has been considerable variation in the content of the code from one state to another.
In the midth century, reform efforts in the United States led to the publication of the Model Penal Codean attempt to rationalize the criminal law by establishing a logical framework for defining offenses and a consistent body of general principles on such matters as criminal intent and the liability of accomplices. The Model Penal Code had a profound influence on the revision of many individual state codes over the following decades; although never enacted completely, it inspired a long period of criminal-code reform.
Civil law Whereas the criminal legal systems of most English-speaking countries are based on English common law, those of most European and Latin American countries, as well as many countries in Africa and Asia, are based on civil law. The civil-law tradition originated in the Law of the Twelve Tables — bca legal code that was posted in the Roman Forum. In civil law the legislatureas the representative of the public, is viewed as the only valid source of law.
It attempts to provide a complete, detailed, and written legal code that is understandable to the common citizen and applies in virtually all situations. Therefore, legal codes in civil-law countries tend to be much lengthier than those in common-law countries, if indeed those countries have them at all. The typical pattern in civil law includes a definition of an offense, various relevant legal principles, and a list of specific applications of the law and specific exceptions.
Judges are expected to apply the law as it is written and generally are prohibited from engaging in the type of interpretation that regularly occurs in common-law systems.
Owing to the central role of the legislature in developing the legal code, civil-law systems also generally lack the type of judicial review that in common-law countries results in what is called case law i. Islamic law Countries with majority Muslim populations have adopted diverse legal systems. Those that were once English colonies e.
Laws do not originate from secular sources, such as kings or legislatures. For example, apostasy requires a death sentenceextramarital sexual relations require death by stoning, and consuming alcoholic beverages requires 80 lashes. Africa Criminal offenses in most modern African countries are defined in criminal or penal codes, a radical departure from the uncodified English criminal law on which many of these codes are based.
Because of their origins, these codes generally reflect the penal assumptions of the original colonial power. The main concessions to local African values or problems are the inclusion of legislation against various customary practices, notably witchcraft; the extension of the criminal law in states with planned economies to cover economic crimes against the state; and, as a consequence of the soaring rate of some kinds of crime, special provision for certain offenses e.
Special tribunals, not subject to the ordinary rules of procedure, have been established in many African countries to deal with such offenses. Sierra Leone retained a greater role for traditional, or customary, law than most other African countries. Customary law is enforced in separate courts in which the judges are politically appointed tribal elders. Nigeria established a tripartite system of criminal law and criminal justice. The Council may not compel the person to undergo drug dependence treatment.
Ensure that the relevant drug legislation does not prevent the giving of advice, information or instruction for safer drug consumption practices by outreach workers nor does it prohibit the sale or supply of syringes and other related material by outreach workers. Propose legislative reform of the Code of Criminal Procedure to require a police agent to have a reasonable, individualized suspicion of criminal wrongdoing in order to place a person under arrest.
Reform the Code of Criminal Procedure to ensure access to a lawyer from the outset of detention in all cases and ensure that all suspects are brought promptly before a judge, normally within 48 hours. Any delay must be exceptional and justified with reasons. Eliminate from the draft law prison sentences for refusal to undergo the urine test.
Provide, in the draft law, that the urine test can only be voluntary and that any evidence, including such tests, obtained by coercion is prohibited from being considered, and that coercion includes telling the suspect that such tests are compulsory.
Provide penalties for law enforcement agents who coerce people to undergo the test. Ensure that the Health Care Council for Drug Users includes a legal expert, as well as other experts such as medical practitioners, psychologists, social service workers or others with appropriate expertise in the field of drug dependence.
The Council should also include current or former drugs users. To the Ministry of interior and of justice Appropriately discipline public security personnel and agents who are responsible for the ill-treatment during arrest and detention of persons in drug related offences. Ensure a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation and appropriate prosecutions of those responsible for serious abuses in connection with drug related arrests, including arbitrary arrests, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and coercing suspects to take urine tests.
To the Ministry of Health Expand access to voluntary, community-based drug dependency treatment and ensure that such treatment is medically appropriate and comports with international standards. Expand access to voluntary, community-based drug dependency treatment for children, and ensure that such services are age-specific, medically appropriate and include components of education.
Expand access to voluntary, community-based drug dependency treatment which addresses the special needs of women and girls who use drugs. Methodology In September and OctoberHuman Rights Watch conducted 47 interviews with people who had been arrested for possessing or using cannabis. Most of the interviewees had served prison sentences for drug use or possession.
They had all spent several days in police custody, following their arrest, ranging from three to six days. Some of these interviews were conducted individually and in private, others were conducted in group settings.
The group interviewees were mostly between 17 and 30 years old. The subjects included bloggers, artists, students, and young residents of the working-class neighborhoods of Hay el Khadhra and Douar Hicher in Tunis, and Hay Ezzouhour and Ennour in Kasserine. Human Rights Watch identified interviewees for this report through its extensive network of activists or through the association International Alert, which conducted a study in about youth and marginalisation in Tunisia.
All participants verbally consented to be interviewed. They were informed of the purpose of the interview, its voluntary nature, and the ways in which the data would be collected and used. Human Rights Watch chose to withhold the names of most people interviewed in this report in order to protect them from retaliation and to protect their privacy.
Human Rights Watch has also reviewed twenty case files in drug cases, including police reports and court decisions. These documents shed light on police practices in investigating these cases. Enacted inthe Law on Narcotics often referred to as Law 52 takes a mostly repressive approach to drug offenses.
Conviction for a second offense under this law results in a mandatory five-year sentence. Even in situations where mitigating circumstances are present, article 11 of the law deprives judges of discretion to reduce drug-related sentences beneath these minimum periods.
Drug offenders represented 28 percent of the total state prison population, and people convicted of the offence of consuming cannabis represented 20 percent. Precious law enforcement and judicial resources are expended arresting, processing, trying, and incarcerating thousands of cannabis possession arrests each year.
According to official statistics, Tunisian prisons operate at 53 percent over capacity. The judge can also punish an offender by rendering him ineligible to receive a passport or to be hired in the public administration. Chapter IV of Law 52 deals with health care and the prevention of drug use. It provides that a person using drugs will not face prosecution if, before law enforcement authorities discover his deeds, he voluntarily seeks treatment at a state rehabilitation center.
This exemption applies only to first-time offenders. Most of the people interviewed by Human Rights Watch in the working-class neighborhoods of Tunis and Kasserine complained about unemployment, marginalization, and the absence of opportunities and prospects for a better future. Our future is dark. There is no way out. Campaigning for the presidency inBeji Caid Essebsi advocated replacing prison terms for first-time offenders with alternative penalties such as fines. On December 30, the government has adopted the revised version but has yet to send it to the parliament at time of writing.
Abusive Police Practices in Drug-related Investigations General Legal Framework for Arrest and Detention The injustice of imprisoning recreational and casual drug users is compounded by the abuses that frequently accompany police enforcement of the drug law, as well as the abuses and lack of legal safeguards that persons under arrest or in jail commonly experience, whether their suspected offense is drug-related or not.
The Code of Criminal Procedure CPP does not mandate a specific threshold of suspicion of commission of a crime in order to proceed with a search and arrest. This unfettered discretion to arrest is inconsistent with international standards on arrest. In order for an arrest to be reasonable, the evidence at hand would have to satisfy an objective observer that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the suspect has committed a crime .
Once persons are placed in a police jail, they have no right under the CPP to family visits or to a lawyer for the first six days they are in custody, including when the police is interrogating them. This makes suspects in detention especially vulnerable to mistreatment by law enforcement agents, especially to coercive measures to sign a statement, sometimes without even being permitted to read it.
According to numerous persons who spent time in Tunisian jails and whom Human Rights Watch interviewed, police commonly use slaps, insults, beatings with a truncheon, and other forms of humiliation and mistreatments in order to coerce suspects to sign confessions. After six days, the police must present persons in their custody to a judge, who decides whether to release them or return them to custody.
According to their lawyer, the two men were returning home, on November 28,after attending the closing ceremony for the film festival. The two men refused to undergo the urine test. Despite the lack of evidence, the court sentenced them both to one year in prison. A urine test can confirm or deny this guilt. Various youths interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that the police frequently stopped them for no apparent reason, that gatherings of more than three people were likely to attract the suspicion of the police and trigger a search that would include inspecting their bags and pockets and patting them down.
Discovery of drugs or drug related paraphernalia, including cigarette rolling papers, would likely result in arrest, followed by interrogation. Most of the 47 interviewees described physical abuse, including beatings, and all of them complained of rude, insulting, and threatening behavior. For example, Malek, a year-old high school student at the time of his arrest on December 31,said police in a white van approached him and his friends when they were in their neighborhood in Douar Hicher in Tunis, at around midnight.
They asked him to lean against the police car and after finding cannabis on him, placed him in handcuffs. He said one of the policemen punched him in the stomach until he fell and then kicked him on his legs. They took him and his friends to the police station of Douar Hicher, where they beat him again. In March at midday, he met up with friends in his Hay el Khadra neighborhood in Tunis.
They were smoking pot, he said, and he lingered, chatting with them. Three marked police vehicles pulled up and started searching them. Although they found no drugs on A. He said they beat him to force him to confess that he had consumed drugs, slapping him on the face and kicking him on his legs. Then they presented him a statement to sign. When he asked them to read it they slapped him, he said, so he signed without reading. On February 10,at 10 p. Four plainclothes police officers confronted them and took them to Zahrouni police station.
Tunisia’s Repressive Drug Law and a Roadmap for Its Reform | HRW
He said that in the police station one of the officers hit him with a baton on his legs. Then they took him upstairs to the judicial police, who wrote a statement that Jawhar signed without reading it because he was too afraid to ask, he said. He was later transferred to Bouchoucha jail. Two days later, the police took him back to the judicial police in Zahrouni for a urine test.
When Jawhar tried to refuse, the officer took him to the toilet, filled a bucket with water and poured it on him, and threatened to put a pipe in his anus if he refused. Jawhar relented and underwent the test the same day in Charles Nicole hospital, with the same officer standing by him, he said. They were going back home from a bar when two uniformed policemen on a motorcycle stopped them on the Rue de Marseille in downtown Tunis. They asked them what they were doing and whether they were drunk.
When one tried to search Samia, she resisted. She said he twisted her arm violently and forced her to kneel down while he handcuffed her. While searching her, the policeman found a small amount of cannabis. There, she said, policemen insulted them and one of them slapped her friend on the face. They took my friend, handcuffed, somewhere. After half an hour, they took me to an office, underground.
There I saw my friend sitting on a chair, still handcuffed behind his back, surrounded by policemen in plainclothes. He was barefoot, with the bottom of his trousers rolled up to his knees, and there was a puddle around his feet, as if they had poured water on them.What is the difference between civil cases and criminal cases?
I saw one of the policeman holding a belt and slapping him on his feet and his knees. Policeman arrested Mourad Mehrezi, a cameraman, in August when he filmed someone throwing an egg at the minister of culture. Mehrezi told Human Rights Watch that policemen took him after three days of detention at the Charles Nicole hospital to do a urine test.
He said that the police lined up several detainees in the backyard of the hospital, insulted them, and told them to urinate in plastic cups. On September 5, Mourad Meherzi was released pending trial. On Januarythe First Instance Tribunal acquitted him of the charges of conspiracy to assault a public servant and harming public morals. His urine test came back negative and he was never charged under the drug law. Chiheb Jlassi, a 27 year-old student from Tunis, was arrested in February by two policemen during a routine identity check.
We will have you take a drug test. On the third day of detention, they took him for a drug test at Charles Nicole Hospital. He said he was too afraid to object. On February 17, the investigative judge of the First Instance tribunal released him without charge as his urine test was negative. In the evening of November 19,about 15 policemen forced their way into the house, in Nabeul, 50 km from Tunis, of Ala Eddine Slim, a filmmaker, and his wife, Yosra Nafti, who was eight months pregnant.
That day, the couple was hosting their friends, artists Fakhri Ghezal and Atef Maatallah. The appeals court in Nabeul acquitted them of the offense of drug possession and released them.
Mistreatment During Urine Tests As the drug law prohibits both possession and consumption, police can arrest people, and even if they find no drugs on them, have them undergo urine tests to prove consumption.
According to Ghazi Mrabet, a Tunis-based lawyer who has represented many clients in drug cases, detainees feel compelled to submit to the tests even though the law does not require them to do so.
The judges in the first instance tribunal considered that their refusal to take the urine test was an incriminating evidence. They were acquitted during their appeal on the grounds of procedural flaws. Law 52 does not explicitly mention urine testing. It only states that the judicial police officers are authorized to ensure the implementation of the law, in coordination with other competent authorities. Law 54, ofon medical testing, states that any human biological analysis must be performed under the supervision of a doctor or a biologist in authorized locations such as hospitals and other public health facilities.
Failing a doctor or biologist, such exams can be performed by a technician under the supervision of a public health doctor. However, most of the interviewees for this report said that the police officers or agents were the ones supervising the collection of urine samples, and that no medical staff was present.
All of the 47 individuals interviewed by Human Rights Watch who said they had been arrested on suspicion of drug use said that they were taken for urine tests, some of them more than once during their period of pre-charge detention. Human Rights Watch reviewed twenty police reports from the investigation files in drug related cases. The reports show that the police, in these cases, ordered urine tests even after they found drugs on the person, and even after the person confessed to using drugs.
In one case, where a Tunisian with a double nationality was found in possession of cannabis at airport border controls, the person confessed that he bought the cannabis in Holland and that he had smoked joints there. Despite his confession and possession of drugs, he was subjected to a urine test. When they arrived to the building, he said that two policemen on a motorcycle approached them and asked them for their papers. When the police noticed that they had drunk alcohol, they took them to the police station of Bab Bhar, where they searched him and found a joint.
He said that they slapped him on his face, punched him in his stomach and then put handcuffs on him and took him, around 3 a. On the third day of detention he was taken to do a urine test, which came back positive. He was sentenced to one year and spent eight months in prison before being released by a presidential pardon. B, now 21 years old, unemployed, said that police arrested him on May 6, when he was riding his motorcycle with a friend, in Kasserine.
When the police asked them to stop they did not obey because the papers for the motorcycle were not valid. The police chased and eventually stopped them. Upon searching the two, the police found a joint in the pocket of his friend. They handcuffed him and started slapping him on the face, then took both of them to the central police station in Kasserine, F. During the fourth day of their detention, the police took them for a urine test at the Kasserine hospital.
What Is the Difference Between Criminal Law and Civil Law?
He said that two policemen stood by him. He spent eight months and ten days in prison in Kasserine before being released by a presidential pardon. J, now 23 years old, currently unemployed, said that he was arrested in August in Kasserine. He was studying design in Nabeul and had come back to Kasserine on holiday. He said that at midday, he went out in the neighborhood of Hay Zouhour to buy cigarettes and was coming back home when the police stopped him to check his papers.
They found a half-smoked joint when they searched him and took him to the central police station in Kasserine. He spent five days in police custody. He said that when they took him to do a urine test at the Kasserine hospital, there were three policemen surrounding him. When he had difficulty urinating, they poured cold water on his head. The test result was positive and he was sentenced to one year in jail.
He spent eight months and 24 days in Kasserine prison before a presidential pardon freed him. In Augusthe returned home to Tunis. Police in plainclothes arrived, searching for his friend. The police searched Hamza but found nothing, he said. But they took him to the police station, and wrote a report in which they said they suspected him of drug use. They took him to Bouchoucha, and the following day they did a urine analysis that gave a positive result. Article 33 of the Code of Criminal Procedure defines flagrante delicto as being one of the following cases: In several cases documented by Human Rights Watch, the police seems to have interpreted the flagrante delicto exception very broadly, allowing them to enter homes and search them without a judicial warrant.
In the 20 court files reviewed by Human Rights Watch, only two note that the search of houses for the purpose of finding drugs was done pursuant to a judicial warrant.
Several people told Human Rights Watch that when conducting searches in their homes, police forces did not show a search warrant. For example, on September 21, at 4 a. Abidi told Human Rights Watch that the police did not show any search warrant when they entered and rounded them up, and did not tell them the reasons for their arrest.
The police seized footage he was preparing for a documentary film about migrants in Tunisia, Abidi said. They detained all eight men and women at the Bouchoucha detention center in Tunis. The Tunis Court of First Instance sentenced four of them to one year in prison for drug consumption on September 28,and acquitted the rest including Abidi, whose urine test was negative.
He said that around 2 a. When his mother opened it, the police burst in and began searching the house. They refused to say what they were looking for and showed no search warrant. Why are you arresting us? When they found nothing to blame us for, they decided to give us a urine analysis. The First Instance tribunal in Tunis sentenced him to one year in prison, on March He spent six months in prison before being released by a presidential pardon.
Exposure to Crimes and to Dire Prison Conditions The law permits the police to hold a person suspected of committing a crime, including drug use or possession, in pre-charge detention for up to six days, time that is usually spent in police jails. During this period, detainees have no right to a lawyer and most face harsh conditions. During research conducted inHuman Rights Watch found that in most situations detainees had insufficient food, limited access to water and soap, no showers, dirty and insufficient blankets, and dark, crowded, dirty cells.
Some of the old buildings had problems with their sanitary systems, causing sewage to back up.