殺人時効廃止 犯罪被害者の声を尊重した

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Jul. 20, 2009)
Plan to ax statute limits shows respect for victims
殺人時効廃止 犯罪被害者の声を尊重した(7月20日付・読売社説)

The statute of limitations for murder, which is set at 25 years from the time the crime is committed, should be abolished--the Justice Ministry proposed this change apparently because it gave great weight to views expressed by crime victims.
 事件から25年が経過すれば罪に問われない殺人の公訴時効を廃止する。法務省がこの方針を打ち出したのは、犯罪被害者の声を最大限に尊重した結果であろう。

It also is true, however, that abolishing the statute of limitations is associated with a number of problems. The ministry is to let the legislative council examine the matter. But it is important that thorough discussions be held as the issue affects the very foundation of the nation's criminal justice system.
 だが、公訴時効の廃止には問題があるのも事実である。法務省は今後、法制審議会に諮問するが、刑事司法制度の根幹にかかわるだけに、引き続き議論を深めていくことが肝要だ。

In an interim report compiled in April, the ministry offered four options on the statute of limitations on murder and other types of offenses for which the death sentence could be handed down. The four options included one to abolish the limitations and another to extend their duration.
In a final report recently compiled, the ministry concluded that it would be appropriate to abolish the statute of limitations for those serious crimes.
 法務省は、4月の中間報告で、殺人など最高刑が死刑である罪の公訴時効について、「廃止」「延長」など四つの選択肢を示し、今回の最終報告は「廃止するのが相当である」と結論付けた。

Regarding other types of crimes, the ministry also proposed that the limitation periods be extended. Whether to apply such envisaged revision to ongoing cases would be considered through further discussions, the ministry said.
 それ以外の罪についても、公訴時効の期間を延長する。時効が進行中の事件にも適用するかどうかは、今後検討するという。

The ministry stated that the statute of limitations should be abolished because, in the case of murder, emotional demand for harsh penalties would never be lessened--not only among victims' bereaved family members but in society as a whole. It added that the public wants to maintain the social order by punishing offenders.
 殺人の場合、遺族はもとより社会全体の処罰感情が希薄化することはない。国民は、犯人を処罰して社会秩序を維持することを望んでいる――。法務省は廃止の理由にこうした点を挙げている。

===

Justice sought

Surely, there is a growing public sentiment demanding harsh punishment for perpetrators in the wake of a series of atrocious crimes in which offenders reportedly said that their targets could have been anyone. Some are of the opinion that the statute of limitations has allowed perpetrators to escape punishment.
 確かに、「殺すのはだれでもよかった」という凶悪事件が相次ぎ、犯人への処罰感情が高まっている側面はあるだろう。時効についても、「逃げ得を許すもの」ととらえる人は少なくあるまい。

Toshikazu Sugaya was sentenced to life in prison for the 1990 murder of a 4-year-old girl in Ashikaga, Tochigi Prefecture, but released last month pending a retrial after fresh DNA tests cast doubt on his conviction. But even after he is exonerated, if the real perpetrator were found the case could no longer be pursued because the statute of limitations--15 years for murder at the time the incident occurred--has passed. This kind of situation would not occur if the statute of limitations were abolished.
 再審開始が決まった足利事件では、菅家利和さんの無罪が確定した後、仮に真犯人が分かっても立件できない。既に時効が成立しているためだ。時効がなくなれば、こうした事態は生じなくなる。

On the other hand, it is more difficult for investigative authorities to obtain material evidence and eyewitness accounts as time passes.
 一方で、事件から時間が経過するに従い、捜査当局は物証や目撃証言などを得にくくなる。

===

More care needed

To prevent the abolishment of the statute of limitations from causing false accusations, even more caution would be required in investigations.
 時効の廃止が冤罪(えんざい)につながらないよう、一層慎重な捜査が求められるだろう。

It is said that convincing evidence could be obtained even after a long period of time thanks to the improved reliability of DNA testing. But investigators must not be permitted to rely too heavily on single pieces of evidence. This is the lesson to be learned from the Ashikaga incident.
 DNA鑑定の進歩で、長い年月を経ても有力な証拠が得られるようになったとされるが、一つの証拠に過度に依存するのは禁物だ。それが足利事件の教訓である。

When the statute of limitations is scrapped, police are meant to continue investigations on certain cases on an indefinite basis. If this causes the number of investigators engaged in more recent cases to decrease, it would adversely affect public safety.
 時効がなくなると、警察は永続的に捜査を続けることになる。その結果、新たな事件に振り向ける捜査員が減少しては、治安の維持にも悪影響が出るだろう。

It is essential to closely study the systems of other nations such as Britain and the United States that have no statute of limitations for murder and France and Germany that allow suspension and interruption of the limitation periods.
 殺人に時効のない米国や英国、時効を停止・中断する制度があるドイツやフランスの状況を詳しく分析することも欠かせまい。

In the interim report, the Justice Ministry proposed one option to establish a new system to allow prosecutors to request courts to suspend or extend the period of limitations only when strong evidence were found. We suggest that the legislative council study the merits and demerits of such a system as well.
 法務省は中間報告で、有力な証拠が見つかった事件に限り、検察が時効の停止や延長を裁判所に請求する制度なども選択肢に挙げた。法制審議会では、こうした案の長所、短所についても、検討を加えたらどうだろうか。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 20, 2009)
(2009年7月20日01時43分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2009-07-20 08:13 | 英字新聞

<< 分裂選挙?―時代錯誤もはなはだしい 「西松」違法献金 元社長有罪の... >>