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12.06.2009

Criminal liability introduced for possession of pornography

   

On 11 June the Verkhovna Rada passed the Law “On amendments to Article 301 of Ukraine’s Criminal Code” which introduces criminal liability for possession of pornographic material. in order to sell or circulate it. The draft law received a large majority (343 votes).

The official opinion given for the law contains the following::

“The draft law has been drawn up in order to improve protection of the rights and legitimate interests of children, as well as to bring domestic legislation into line with Ukraine’s international legal commitments taken on when it ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

The problem, of course, is that the law is in no way restricted to child pornography, and while specific proof may be required to prove intent to sell, what is meant by intention to circulate is not necessarily clear.  The problem of child pornography and other forms of sexual exploitation of children is urgent, and this law in itself is unlikely to even begin grappling with a very serious crime. Possession of any form of pornography for personal use is not touched by this amendment and in fact possession even before the amendment was deemed preparation to commit the offences already laid down in the Criminal Code. .

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