President Andrzej Duda proposes changes to the law on the State Commission on Pedophilia. Among other things, by accessing the Church’s files

The president sent the draft amendment to the law on the state commission on pedophilia to the Sejm, the presidential chancellery said Friday. Andrzej Duda is proposing changes regarding, among other things, the commission’s access to files and documents of various organizations, including the church. He also calls for the name to be changed in the State Commission to Combat the Sexual Exploitation of Minors Under 15.

The presidential chancellery on Friday informed about the president’s legislative initiative. As Presidential Minister Małgorzata Paprocka said, the proposed provisions are the result of cooperation between the Presidential Chancellery and the Pedophilia Commission and implement the commission’s postulates.

– The amendments proposed by the Presidential Initiative are very broad in scope and complement, or in fact clarify the whole procedure, how the investigation should be conducted. Broad guarantees are introduced both for the person identified as the perpetrator, but especially for the victims. The whole institution is focused on justice for those who were victims of such crimes in their youth – Paprocka said.

The victims of pedophile priests fight for justice and compensationTVN24

Changes proposed by the president

As indicated in the explanatory memorandum, the main purpose of the concept is to supplement the applicable regulations in the context of the Committee’s explanation. The Chair proposes a major change to the Commission’s access to information and documents obtained in the performance of its statutory duties. According to the project, among others, state organs, non-governmental organizations, professional self-governments, churches, religious unions are required to provide the information and documents requested by the commission within 30 days at the request of the commission.

This is a change that the committee has long pushed for. In February and March last year, the commission asked all Polish dioceses to provide its documents related to judicial-canonical and administrative-canonical procedures. However, it has not received the requested documents. The chairman of the commission argued at the time that this body lacked instruments to guarantee access to important files in ecclesiastical courts and episcopal curias.

READ MORE: State Commission on Pedophilia: Groundbreaking Supreme Court Ruling

The president’s bill also proposes to change the committee’s name. In addition, as the Chairman points out in the justification for the draft, the name change is supported by the fact that it must contain a clear, legible and understandable message for each recipient – the aim is to protect minors under 15 in any form from sexual abuse. As a result, the full name of the commission is as follows: State Commission for Combating the Sexual Abuse of Minors Under 15 Years of Age. Currently, the full name of the commission is: State Commission to Investigate Cases of Activities Against Sexual Freedom and Decency Against Minors Under 15.

The draft also allows the commission to join the case as an assistant prosecutor at any stage of the proceedings. The only condition is the consent of the injured party or the person exercising the injured party’s rights. At the same time, it is possible for these persons to withdraw their consent at any time.

The president’s bill also assumes that the rights of the injured party are equal to the rights of the offender. It is about enabling the injured party to appeal against the commission’s decision to grant access to the so-called pedophile register. Until now, only the perpetrator could appeal against the decision to enter the register. – Until now, only the perpetrator could appeal our decision, and the injured party could not. This is changing. This is extremely important because so far there has been a disproportion between the parties – said Commission President Błażej Kmieciak.

“We have a decade of war ahead in the church when it comes to pedophilia”TVN24

The law firm justifies the changes

While justifying the need for changes, Minister Paprocka emphasized that, on the one hand, it is a matter of justice and, on the other, that the Commission’s tasks with regard to prevention are important. – In this regard, the draft introduces a separate report to be prepared by the Commission at least every three years and which should contain recommendations – she added.

– By addressing this initiative to the Sejm, the President expresses the hope that these changes will, first of all, increase the effectiveness of the Committee’s activities, while, first of all, they will guarantee the injured, but also the person who is referred to as the perpetrator of their constitutional rights, and will also contribute to the implementation of the principles of restorative justice and reparation. harm suffered by victims of childhood sexual abuse, the presidential minister added.

The committee chair is pleased with the president’s design

On the other hand, Commission chairman Błażej Kmieciak commented on the proposed changes, saying that the president’s design was exactly what the Commission wanted based on the experiences with the injured. According to him, the proposed provisions are a comprehensive proposal that allows for the restoration of justice in time-barred cases and supplements the existing law with the necessary elements.

Also read: Report of the State Commission on Pedophilia. Chairman Błażej Kmieciak on the results of the work

The State Commission on Pedophilia was established by a law that came into effect in September 2020. The committee consists of seven members who represent: the Sejm, the Senate, the President, the Prime Minister and the Ombudsman for Children. The tasks of this body include investigating expired cases and registering pedophiles in the register of sex offenders. The commission may also oversee pending proceedings and appear in court as an auxiliary prosecutor.

Main photo source: Andrzej Hulimka / Forum

Leave a Comment