The Slovenia Times

More Changes to Penal Code


The proposed changes to the penal code made headlines above all because of the initial idea to criminalise downloading as opposed to only making it illegal to sell copyrighted digital content.

The proposal, which included a possible three-year prison sentence for such an offence, was watered down first at parliamentary committee level and further at plenary readings, where even the compromise solution setting a EUR 5,000 download value threshold was abandoned.

The LibDems at parliamentary committee level, and then Zares and the Democrats (SDS) at the plenary, were the main opponents of the original proposal.

The adopted changes meanwhile bring a score of other novelties, including newly defined penalties for false bankruptcy, loan fraud, and tax evasion.

The definition of economic activity is being expanded to include any activity carried out professionally or in an organised way in exchange for payment.

According to the Justice Ministry, this will allow the application of corporate penal provisions for abuses of office or corrupt actions in fields traditionally not considered economic or profit-oriented.

Another novelty is the criminal offence of causing damage to public funds, which can affect officials, public servants, while also protecting public funds given to companies or private individuals. Major embezzlement will be penalised with severe fines as well as a prison sentence of up to eight years.

Also highlighted by outgoing Justice Minister Ales Zalar was a new provision preventing the avoidance of asset confiscation via transfer to partners or family members.

Zalar has pointed to the diversification of prescribed financial fines issued by courts, which will take into consideration the material situation of perpetrators to allow the fines to be stretched in both directions and lead to courts issuing them more often.

The overhaul moreover introduces stiffer penalties for sex offenders and prostitution, stricter regulation of obligatory psychiatric treatment for mentally ill perpetrators, and it expands possibilities for replacing the serving of prison sentences with house arrest or community service.

The changes were rejected in parliamentary debate by the SDS, the largest opposition party, which overhauled the penal code during its 2004-2008 term. According to SDS MP Vinko Gorenak, the changes "bring nothing of substance and are more likely to have negative than positive effects on the rule of law".


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