VILNIUS - Lithuanian lawmakers on June 19 moved a step closer to adopting a bill allowing the chemical castration of convicted sex offenders, as the Baltic EU state is still reeling from a child abuse scandal, reports AFP.
In its first reading, lawmakers from across the political spectrum unanimously endorsed the draft legislation which seeks mandatory treatment for the reduction of the sex drive in persons convicted of sex crimes. The bill is expected to be fully adopted after two more readings during the autumn session of parliament, beginning in September, just a month ahead of a general election.
“The number of sex crimes is not decreasing and society must have an instrument to protect itself,” said opposition lawmaker Valentinas Mazuronis, who submitted the bill.
“Society must choose as its priority the rights of potential victims, not those of criminals,” he told AFP.
The bill stipulates that courts be allowed to order the use of drugs that reduce the libido for up to five years for convicted pedophiles, and up to three years for other sex offenders. The authors said similar laws had been adopted in fellow ex-communist EU states the Czech Republic, Estonia and Poland, and that the treatment was also applied in Canada, Denmark, Sweden and the United States.
The move comes as Lithuania is rattled by a high-profile pedophilia scandal which surfaced three years ago.