PN disappointed justice minister will not recognise femicide as a crime

Nationalist Party said recent instances of violence against women amplified worrying gaps in Maltese criminal system

The Nationalist Party has expressed its disappointment that justice minister Edward Zammit Lewis is refusing to consider legislaing femicide as a crime in its own right.

The PN said in a statement that the brutal murder of Paulina Dembska and the ongoing instances of violence against women, including a recent domestic violence incident where another woman was stabbed multiple times in her own home, further amplified the worrying gaps in Malta’s system.

“The PN acknowledges that even though the crime of voluntary homicide in Malta carries the highest possible penalty of life imprisonment, the government should at the very least engage with research which shows numerous advantages of recognising femicide as a specific criminal offence.”

The PN said having femicide included as a specific offence facilitates monitoring and studying femicide and finding adequate measures for its prevention, quick response, adequate investigation and the prosecution and punishment of perpetrators. 

“In addition to proper recognition, specialised investigation of femicide cases and the necessary training of our law enforcement and our prosecutors is also necessary. In this way, the legislative recognition of the problem will indicate the seriousness of the issue and will provide the impetus for future progress in the investigation of the crimes.”

The PN backed calls of various women’s rights organisations for the crime of femicide to be recognised as an offence in and of itself, as well as a reform in the way femicides are investigated from the start.

The party said it was necessary that the persons responsible for the criminal investigation and prosecution receive specialised training in the causes and circumstances under which femicides are committed. “Government’s continued failure to recognise that gender-based crimes are a real problem, and subsequent failure to treat them as such, will not lead to real solutions.”