Appendix 2 to the reply
Comments of the European Committee on
Crime Problems (CDPC)
Following the adoption by the
Parliamentary Assembly of Recommendation
on “Rape of women, including marital rape”, the Committee
of Ministers decided to communicate it to the European Committee
on Crime Problems (CDPC), for information and/or possible comments.
The CDPC examined the above recommendation and decided to contribute
to the response of the Committee of Ministers by providing the following
comments concerning matters within its fields of competence.
2. The CDPC fully supported the Parliamentary Assembly’s assertion
that rape of women, including marital rape, is an unacceptable violation
of women’s rights and dignity, as well as a most serious crime.
It also agreed that the fight against rape needs to be stepped up
through the full implementation of relevant Council of Europe recommendations
and the highest possible standards of legislation on rape and sexual violence.
3. With regard to the Parliamentary Assembly’s call to the Committee
of Ministers to instruct the Ad hoc Committee on preventing and
combating violence against women and domestic violence (CAHVIO)
to include in the future Council of Europe convention the severest
and most widespread forms of violence against women, including rape
and sexual assault, the CDPC wished to recall that, according to
the CAHVIO’s interim report adopted by the Committee of Ministers
on 1 July 2009, the future draft convention will cover the widest
possible range of forms of violence perpetrated against women, amongst
which sexual violence, including sexual assault, rape and sexual
4. Regarding the establishment of marital rape as a separate
offence under member states’ domestic law, the CDPC drew the attention
of the Assembly to the above-mentioned interim report which states
that the definitions of offences in the future convention would
take into account international law and the definitions contained, inter alia, in Recommendation Rec(2002)5
of the Committee of Ministers, which refers specifically to "rape
Furthermore in this context, the CDPC would like to draw attention
to the risk that establishing marital rape as a separate offence
may eventually induce the law maker to define or maintain marital
rape as a privileged offence in comparison to extra-marital rape.
Such a move would clearly run counter to the overall objectives
of the Parliamentary Assembly in Recommendations 1691 (2009)
and 1887 (2009).
6. In respect of the recommendation that the Committee of Ministers
ask its member states to develop a comprehensive strategy comprising
measures to prevent rape in the first place, as well as to ensure
protection of and assistance to rape victims at every stage of the
proceedings, including, possibly, compensation for the victims,
the CDPC wished to highlight that the above-mentioned interim report
also refers to prevention of violence against women, including through
education and training, and protection and support of victims, all
of which will be covered in the future convention.
In addition, with regard to certain concerns related to victims
expressed in Parliamentary Assembly Resolution 1691 (2009)
, to which Recommendation
refers, the CDPC wished to inform the Assembly that,
as a follow-up to Resolution
adopted at the 29th Council of Europe Conference of Ministers
of Justice (Tromsø, Norway, 18-19 June 2009) on preventing and responding
to domestic violence, it has initiated work on the status and rights
of victims in criminal proceedings with a view to granting them status
in criminal cases. At its 2009 plenary meeting (12-16 October 2009),
the CDPC approved a proposal for an expert to carry out a preliminary
report/study on this subject.
8. In view of the above, the CDPC was of the opinion that the
standard-setting work in progress will adequately address the criminal
law and criminal procedural law questions raised by the Parliamentary Assembly
in relation to rape, including marital rape.
9. Finally, the CDPC supported the Parliamentary Assembly’s proposal
for the Committee of Ministers to launch a Council of Europe campaign
to change public attitudes to rape and sexual assault, possibly
in the framework of the promotion of the future Council of Europe
convention, and believed that, based on the success of previous
Council of Europe campaigns, such a strategy could be very effective.