Prosecutors raise objections to planned reform of Greek penal code


The Union of Greek Prosecutors on Tuesday hailed government plans to overhaul the country's dated penal code, but expressed serious objections to a number of specific measures outlined in the draft bill that has been put up for public consultation.

In a statement, the union pointed specifically to the Justice Ministry's definition of certain crimes, which the new law would reduce from a felony to a misdemeanor. These include manufacturing and handling explosives, aggravated fraud and forgery, professional theft, migrant smuggling, environmental pollution and other crimes.

The prosecutors also voiced their objection to the abolition of ex officio prosecution for a number of crimes such as theft, fraud and corruption, which under the new law would be prosecuted only if the victim takes legal action.

The union expressed concern that the new penal code risks “shattering the peace and the public's sense of security,” while also making victims of serious crimes feel that perpetrators are being treated with impunity.

It further stressed the absence of groundwork to ensure that certain new laws can actually be implemented, pointing in particular to the idea of community service replacing soft prison time for minor offenses.