On Friday the State Duma passed amendments to the Criminal Code that are to increase the rights of the Russians for self-defense. For example, a new norm has appeared: “if an attack has posed a threat to the life, the harm to the assailant can not be treated as a crime.”
Earlier the Criminal Code contained a norm on inadmissibility of excessive self-defense. It is clear that if an assailant was murdered or injured, the man who defended his life was to be made answerable for the action. In accordance with the former Criminal Code it was rather complicated to prove that self-defense did not exceed the norm. And it seemed that the life was made simpler for criminals and more complicated for law-abiding citizens. The only thing to hope for then was to expect that the life would be preserved. 365 deputies voted for the amendments to the Code, one deputy abstained from voting, none of the deputies voted against the amendments. The crime rate has considerably increased in Russia, and law enforcement authorities fail to cope with it. The passing of the amendments means, the government, probably rather unwillingly, has to shift the defense of lives on the people themselves.
The social status is not a protection from assaults nowadays – the rich and the poor suffer equally. But the first have more chances for attraction of the public attention and for their own protection.
The confusion in the society and lack of faith in the ability of the authorities to restrain waves of crime make some people ask for restoration of capital punishment. Opponents of the capital punishment restoration say, those countries that practice capital punishment do not observe reduction of the crime rate. But the objections do not seem to be rather convincing for Russia.
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/02/08/36802.html