Sweden to abolish limits of hearings of murder cases

The Swedish government wants to abolish the statute limiting the period courts have to hear murder cases, to take advantage of technological advances that can help solve old crimes, the justice minister said Friday.

Justice Minister Thomas Bodstrom told Swedish Radio he will soon present a proposal to parliament to lift the current 25-year statute of limitation from all unsolved murders still being investigated.

"You should no longer be able to get away with a murder, even if a very long time has passed," Bodstrom said. "With the new technology, you can use DNA, for instance, to solve a murder that was committed a very long time ago."

The proposal comes 19 years after Sweden's most publicized unsolved murder, the 1986 assassination of Prime Minister Olof Palme, who was gunned down on a Stockholm street when walking home from a movie theater.

If passed, the new law would allow police to continue that investigation even if the killer has not been caught by the current 2011 deadline for the case.

Bodstrom said it was unclear whether the law would allow police to reopen murder cases where the statute of limitation has already expired.

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