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Council of Europe criticizes Germany castration law

The Council of Europe's (COE) [official website] Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Punishment (CPT) published a report [text] Wednesday rejecting the practice of surgical castration [COE press release] as a means of treatment for sexual offenders. In Germany, surgical castration as a means for treatment must be initiated at the request of the offender, be approved by an expert commission and include a medical examination of the requesting offender. The CPT fundamentally objects to the practice, noting: it has irreversible physical effects; surgical castration is not in conformity with recognized international standards; there is no guarantee the result sought will last and, given the context, free and informed consent is questionable. Although it is only applied in a few regions and in isolated cases, the report recommends that the practice be discontinued. The report also includes investigations into the allegations of ill-treatment during custody in police establishments, examinations into conditions of detention for immigration detainees, allegations of inter-prisoner violence and prisoners who were subjected to preventative detention. In response [PDF], the German federal government states that they are consider the CPT's recommendations.

Germany and the Czech Republic are the only two European countries that allow sex offenders to choose surgical castration as a treatment option. This month, Russian lawmakers approved stricter sex offender laws [JURIST report] that allow convicted offenders to voluntarily submit to chemical castration. This voluntary procedure was first proposed [JURIST report] last July, but debated by the majority party who wanted the procedure to be mandatory. Several countries including South Korea [JURIST report], Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Denmark, Israel, Norway, Sweden, Poland and some US states utilize chemical castration in some capacity.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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