“New law will enable ratification of Istanbul Convention in 2019” – Minister Flanagan
- · Bill is last step in Government’s Action Plan on Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence
- · Bill will criminalise offences committed abroad by Irish citizens or residents
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, has announced the publication today of the Criminal Law (Extraterritorial Jurisdiction) Bill 2018, following approval by the Government.
The Programme for Government contains a commitment to implement the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, known as the Istanbul Convention. This Bill is the last step in the Government’s 18–step Action Plan, approved by Government in October 2015, to enable Ireland to ratify the Convention. Ireland signed the Convention on 5 November 2015.
The Minister added: “The Istanbul Convention is an extremely important convention, aimed at combating violence against women and all forms of domestic violence. My Department has made significant progress in ensuring Ireland can ratify this Convention through the recent enactment of the Domestic Violence Act 2018, the Criminal Justice (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 and the Victims of Crime Act 2017. This is the final piece of legislation required.”
Under the proposed Bill, individuals who commit particular offences abroad will be liable to be prosecuted under Irish law. These include offences under the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 and the Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment) Act 1990, as well as murder and manslaughter.
While the Convention is primarily aimed at targeting violence against women and domestic violence, this legislation will apply to offences committed against both women and men abroad.
The Minister is committed to enacting this Bill as soon as possible, stating: “This is a short but very technical Bill that will enable Ireland to be fully compliant with the provisions of the Istanbul Convention. I would urge Deputies and Senators from all sides of the Houses to take a constructive approach to debates and to enable speedy enactment of this Bill before Christmas. This will allow us to ratify the Istanbul Convention early in 2019.”
Note for Editors:
The Bill is available here https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/bill/2018/129/eng/initiated/criminal-law-extraterritorial-jurisdiction-bill-2018.pdf
Criminal Law (Extraterritorial Jurisdiction) Bill 2018
Offences for the purposes of this Bill include:
· assault causing harm
· assault causing serious harm
· threats to kill or cause serious harm
· sexual assault
· aggravated sexual assault
· rape, or
· rape under section 4 of the Criminal Law (Rape)(Amendment) Act 1990
The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, commonly known as the Istanbul Convention, is a significant legal instrument in combatting sexual and domestic violence. The Convention was formally adopted by the Committee of Minister’s Deputies at the Council of Europe on 7 April 2011. The Convention entered into force 1 August 2014.
The Convention is a broad based document which covers a number of Departments’ policy areas. The purposes of the Convention are to protect women from all forms of violence, and prevent, prosecute and eliminate violence against women and domestic violence. The Convention also aims to ensure the design of a comprehensive framework, policies and measures for the protection of and assistance to all victims of such violence.
Ireland signed the Istanbul Convention in November 2015. In October 2015, the Government gave approval to an action plan which contained those outstanding actions that were identified as being necessary to enable Ireland’s rectification of the Convention. Those 18 actions were included in the Second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence, which was published in January 2016. The implementation of this whole of Government strategy, which contains a range of actions to be implemented across Government department and agencies, is ongoing.
Key actions include the training of public sector officials, the implementation of the Victims Directive, the development and implementation of the Risk Assessment Matrix by An Garda Síochána for victims of domestic violence and sexual crime, and the enactment of legislation such as the Domestic Violence Act 2018, the Criminal Justice (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 and the Victims of Crime Act 2017.