Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Feminicide across Europe: Lithuania

 Femicide as a consequence of intimate partner violence has been mainly utilized by women’s NGOs, which advocate for legal reform and policy changes in Lithuania. Data on femicide are generally collected under statistics for homicide.

1 Sources
The most reliable source on femicide is the crime statistics collected by the Ministry of Interior. The Department of Information Technology and Communications under the Ministry of Interior (DITC), in the Ministry of Interior, collects data nationally and manages its collection and systematisation.

Data includes cases of crimes, victims and offenders, as well as the beginning of the pre-trial investigation under the Penal Code. Records from police, prosecutors and judges of private prosecution cases should appear in the register. The national standard for recording the administrative data is the Order of the Minister of the Interior on Regulations of Institutional Register of Criminal Acts (LR Vidaus reikalų ministro įsakymas "Nusiklatimo veikų žinybinio reigstro nuostatai").5 The DITC refers to the collected administrative data to generate the statistics for crimes. It is possible to identify the numbers of victims and offenders according to gender and family relations in these crime statistics. DITS manages the database on any pre-trial investigations, in accordance with to the Penal code. Crimes reported by police to the judicial system include data on homicides by sex of a victim and family relations. Thus, statistics on femicide are identifiable. The DITC publishes these statistics on a specially designated website for violence against women, operated by the Ministry of Interior ( )

2 Definition
The term Femicide is hardly used in academic research. However, femicide might be retrievable under the Art. 129 of the Penal Code, which identifies sentences in cases of homicide. The same article defines the relationships between an offender and victim, in terms of close relative or family member.
 (by Vilana Pilinkaité)

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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