MOSCOW, October 6 (RAPSI) — The Government Law-Making Commission has backed draft amendments to the Criminal Code, increasing the punishment for regular assaults: the respective bill toughens the punishment for persons who have already had a criminal record of physical violence. 

The initiative brings the Criminal Code into line with the legal positions of the Constitutional Court of Russia, according to Chairman of the Board of the Association of Lawyers of Russia (ALR) Vladimir Gruzdev.

Gruzdev reminds that from a legal point of view, violent actions that did not cause harm to individual’s health are defined as beatings. It can be slaps in the face, punches and any use of force, after which the victim experienced pain, he said.

The ALR Chair stressed that today the law provides for a two-stage system of punishment for beatings: the principle of administrative prejudice is in effect.

For the first violation, a person will be punished under the Code of Administrative Offenses. For repeated beatings such a person is to be brought to criminal responsibility. Such a system is designed to prevent more serious consequences. As even the slightest manifestations of violence is punished, a person is made to understand that such behavior is unacceptable and will certainly entail responsibility, Gruzdev said.

But to make the mechanisms of punishment for beating, which does not result in bodily harm, work, it is necessary that the punishment be increased when the misconduct is repeated, Gruzdev points out.

Meanwhile, currently there is a legal gap in the system of punishment for beatings, which was pointed out by the Constitutional Court: if a person commits beatings for the third time, the punishment is not toughened. On the contrary, the person is brought to administrative responsibility again, the ALR Chair explained.

However, in a situation where the perpetrator regularly resorts to physical violence, albeit insignificant (compared to violence that causes harm to health), this is no longer enough. More stringent sanctions are needed, Gruzdev said.

The bill assumes that a person who has committed beatings for the third time or more will be prosecuted and the sanctions will become more strict. For regular physical violence, if it did not cause harm to health, there is to be introduced such punishments as compulsory work for up to 480 hours, restriction of freedom for up to a year and other sanctions, Gruzdev notes.

He reminded that, according to the Judicial Department at the Supreme Court of Russia, in 2020 more than 1,600 people were convicted under the respective article of the Criminal Code.

The number of those convicted under this article, compared to 2019, increased by 17.5 percent. At the same time, 104,000 people were punished under the Code of Administrative Offences in 2020. Thus, one and a half percent of citizens brought to administrative responsibility are repeated offenders, Gruzdev summed up.