Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Feminicide across Europe: Romania

In Romania, the concept of femicide appeared for the first time in 2014 (Balica et al). From this year onwards, there are some studies focused on femicide-suicides (Balica 2016) and femicide (Balica, 2017). This term is used only in academic papers.

1 Sources
There are only one institution that has collected femicide data in Romania: the Laboratory Violence and crime. Mediation and Prevention from Institute of Sociology of the Romanian Academy (coordinator: Balica). Since 2015, Balica has initiated a pilot project to collect information about femicide committed in Romania between 2011-2015. To date, the database contains information from the online media for about 298 cases of femicide committed in Romania. The definiton of femicide used for this database was: femicide is best defined as the intentional killing  of a woman by an intimate partner. Partner is defined in a broad way, to include a husband, living and dating partner, lover; former husband, former partner and former lover are also included in the definition. The Femicide in Romania database (n=298 cases) includes information about victims, aggressors and violence.

2 Definition

Femicide is defined in the studies by Romanian researcher as the killing of a woman by an intimate partner. Partner is defined in a broad way, to include husband, living and dating partner, lover; former husband, former partner and former lover are also included in the definition.
Balica, Branea, Marinescu, Victimele violentei dintre partenerii intimi. Analiza datelor statistice  privind victimele inregistrate in Romania, in intervalul 2008-2013 (Victims of intimate partner violence. Analysis of  Romanian cases between 2008-2013), in: Revista Romana de Criminologie, Penologie si Criminalistica (Romanian  Journal  of  Criminology, Penology and Forensic Science), pp. 24-34, no 3/4 – 2014, ISSN 1454-5624
Balica, Féminicide et médias en ligne. Études de cas: les femmes roumaines émigrantes qui offrent   des  services sexuelles légaux/ illégaux, in: Marinescu V&Branea S. (eds), (2017) Exploring Political and Gender Relations: New Digital and Cultural Environments, Cambridge Scholars Publishing ISBN (10): 1-4438-9972-0 ISBN (13): 978-1-4438-9972-7
Balica, Homicide-Suicide in Romania: Statistical data and Media Representation, Peter Lang Publishing House, 2016, 210 pages, ISBN 978-3-631-66722-4
 Ecaterina Balica

In order to fight feminicide/femicide, various Latin American and European countries have adopted increasingly specific laws and legal instruments that penalize feminicide. The ratification of the Belém do Pará Convention1 in Latin America and the entry into force of the Istanbul Convention2  in Europe, demonstrate an increasingly stronger international commitment against this kind of violence. The establishment of the Bi-regional Dialogue on Gender by the European Union (EU) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), as well as the adoption of the Urgent Resolution on Feminicide in the European Union and Latin America3 by the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat) also express this commitment.    

However, legal norms, agreements, and international dialogues alone are not sufficient for the eradication of violence against women, nor its most extreme manifestation, feminicide.

Traditionally, States were only responsible for their own actions or those of their agents, but international public law has evolved and currently, the principle of due diligence makes the State responsible for the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of violence, regardless of who commits the crime. The duty of due diligence obliges States to enter the private sphere, where historically, they have not intervened, but where the majority of cases of violence against women occur. 

Therefore, it is the duty of the State to take all necessary measures to prevent human rights violations, such as feminicide, before they occur. This means, on the one hand, adopting pertinent laws and policies to prevent, investigate, prosecute, and punish those guilty of abuse, and on the other hand, successfully implement them. 

Patricia Jiménez, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung – European Union, Brussels

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