A bill to make rape punishable with life imprisonment will be tabled at the House plenum on October 9, the house legal affairs committee decided on Wednesday.
Discussions began in June to modernise the definition of rape, which has not been changed for the past 60 years.
The bill was submitted by main opposition Akel, which said that in other EU countries the definition of rape had long since been updated.
The bill expands the definition with a focus on lack of consensus and includes, in addition to the traditional notion of vaginal rape, anal, and oral penetration. The bill also includes forms of rape against men and other provisions related to sexual abuse against children.
Speaking after Wednesday’s session, Akel MP Aristos Damianou expressed satisfaction over the decision to modernise the definition of rape.
“At a time when this heinous crime is reaching alarming proportions around the world, at a time when victims of rape or other similar acts are indelibly psycho-physically wounded, we consider it our duty to update the definition and facilitate criminal prosecution, always with respect to presumption of innocence, precisely in an attempt to provide the necessary legislation for this heinous crime,” he said.
The committee also adopted a change to the definition of child pornography, which is now described as material showing the sexual abuse and exploitation of children, based on European parliament and Interpol recommendations.