The commission that reviews the changes in the chapter on sexual crimes in the Penal Code incorporates into the text the consent of the victim as the axis and the violation of the partner or ex-partner as an aggravating circumstance. "And when the victim is or has been a wife, or a woman who is or has been linked to the author by a similar relationship of affectivity, even without coexistence," according to the final document, to which this newspaper has had access. This review of the group of experts has already been sent to the Ministry of Justice and will foreseeably pass through the Council of Ministers that meets this Friday in Barcelona between strong security measures by the protests called by pro-independence groups.
The 28 jurists of the group (15 women and 13 men) have left the term "abuse" outside the regulations and consider "assault" any attempt against sexual freedom. They also recover the crime of "rape" for the most serious cases. The inclusion of the aggravating circumstance within the couple or ex-partner responds to the mandate to include the gender perspective in the regulations and to what the Istanbul Convention dictates, according to the commission's sources consulted
The sentences, which provoked several debates, have been qualified but have not been reduced. In the last meetings, the jurists considered that the violation did not exceed the maximum penalty of the homicides, that suppose 15 years of prison, unless they are accumulated crimes. In the document sent to Justice by the president of the commission, the lawyer Esteban Mestre, those 15 years would be reached only in the most serious cases, with two or more aggravating circumstances.
In addition, they incorporate as aggravating new aggression in a group, "when committed by the joint action of two or more people"; and in the field of the couple or ex-partner. And they maintain what the law already collected: if the facts are "particularly degrading or vexatious", "when the victim is especially vulnerable", when the aggressor has taken advantage of a "relationship of superiority or kinship with the victim", when there are "weapons or other equally dangerous means".
The idea of the experts in Criminal Law when working on the text was to "clarify" the concepts as much as possible so that it would be easy for citizens to understand without losing technical rigor. The president of the Commission, has told the rest of the members of the committee that there has been a "clear, understandable by society" and that his impression is that Justice will take an "immediate" decision on the basis of the proposal of this team whose work is not binding.
The team began work after last April transcended the first sentence of La Manada, -by which was condemned for sexual abuse and not for assault to the five men who raped in a group an 18-year-old girl on the first night of San Fermín in 2016 because They understood that there was no violence-. That ruling unleashed the indignation of society and provoked numerous demonstrations. The Minister of Justice at that time, Rafael Català, of the PP, decided to entrust the group, which had only held meetings since 1982, to review the Penal Code. Initially, it consisted of 20 men and, also before the protests of experts and jurists, it ended up modifying its composition, now with a majority of women.
During the meetings of the last months, sources of the Commission pointed out that the great difficulty was in "achieving a useful text that does not create more problems than it tries to solve". That is to say, "Meet the demands of public opinion without forgetting the technical aspects and respect for criminal procedural guarantees ".