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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-11-03

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Committees for reform of Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code set up
  • [02] Greece and Italy to sign agreement for natgas pipeline Friday
  • [03] Jan. ECOFIN to decide on debt securitization plan
  • [04] Legislation on cybercrime, child porn in the wings
  • [05] Ecumenical Patriarch visits 'Economist' HQ in London

  • [01] Committees for reform of Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code set up

    Justice minister Anastasis Papaligouras on Thursday reiterated the government's determination to proceed with catharsis in the justice sector, adding that there would be no prior warning of prosecution action.

    The government and the independent justice were unanimous that the process of catharsis must proceed, and the effort would succeed, Papaligouras said, speaking to reporters after a meeting with prime minister Costas Karamanlis, which was also attended by Prof. Nikos Androulakis and honorary Areios Paghos (Greek supreme court) prosecutor Evangelos Kroustalakis, who have been appointed to head two ad hoc committees on reform of the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code respectively.

    "We will be successful in this big task," the minister said.

    Papaligouras added that justice must be restored, the law must be respected, and the citizens' confidence in the judiciary must also be restored.

    Asked to comment on press reports that he was being pressured by various quarters, the minister replied: "It leaves me indifferent. We will proceed with success".

    Kroustalakis, replying to press questions, said he had full confidence in the Areios Pagos president (Dimitris Linos) and its prosecutor (Romylos Kedikoglou) and in the competent bodies of justice, noting that they had progressed well in their task.

    He further voiced his "support for the self-catharsis being conducted by the justice sector itself".

    Commenting on the meeting, Papaligouras said that prime minister Costas Karamanlis had wanted to meet himself with the chairmen of the two committees in order to underline the importance placed by the government in the reform of the two codes, and to wish them every success in their "difficult and historic task".

    The justice minister explained that the two Codes had been enacted into law 55 years ago, and were outdated inmany instances, and consequently an effort would be made, through their reform, that they will correspond to the new conditions and what taking place in Europe.

    He said that task being undertaken by the two committees was "arduous and enviable", and noted that participating in the committees were important personalities from the legal field, such as academics, judges and lawyers.

    Androulakis, who chairs the reform committee for the Penal Code, said that efforts had also been made in the past to reform the Penal Code, but added that those efforts had been limited to "patchwork" solutions, whereas now an effort was being made for its comprehensive revision from the start.

    Kroustalakis, who chairs the reform committee for the Criminal Procedure Code, said it was a difficult task, adding that he was fully aware of the difficulties, but expressed optimism that the committee would successfully complete its task.

    The target, Kroustalakis said, was speedy criminal justice with full respect of the rights of the accused and the rights emanating from the Human Rights Charter.

    [02] Greece and Italy to sign agreement for natgas pipeline Friday

    Greece and Italy are to sign a bilateral agreement for the construction of a Greek-Italian natural gas pipeline linking the natural gas networks of both countries on Friday.

    Greek Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas will be departing on Thursday for the Italian town of Lecce, where the agreement is to be signed. He will be accompanied by Deputy Development Minister George Salagoudis and ministry general secretary Nikos Stefanou, the president and board chairman of Greece's state-owned gas company DEPA Rafael Moisis and officials from the foreign ministry, development ministry and DEPA executives.

    The agreement will be signed by Sioufas and Italian Minister of Productive Activities Claudio Scajola, while Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Mehmet Hilmi Guler has been invited to attend.

    The Greek-Italian pipeline will essentially be an extension of the Greek-Turkish pipeline and turn Greece into a conduit of large quantities of natural gas from the Caspian Sea and central Asia to the energy-hungry countries in western Europe.

    Construction will be undertaken by DEPA SA and Edison Gas of Italy. The two firms, which have formed a consortium named Poseidon Co. to build the pipeline, will share costs and revenue in the first phase of the project. The project is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2009.

    [03] Jan. ECOFIN to decide on debt securitization plan

    An ECOFIN council meeting in January will decide on a Greek government plan for a debt securitization, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Thursday.

    Speaking to reporters, the Greek minister said this year's debt securitization programme would total 1.5 billion euros, from 1.8 billion euros initially planned. The government would also cut its debt securitization programme for 2006 to 1.0 billion euros from a 2.0 billion initial forecast.

    Alogoskoufis said the revenue gap from a reduced debt securitization programme this year and in 2006 would be covered by spending cuts and higher budget revenues. He noted that privatisation revenues would total 1.6 billion euros next year and reiterated that the government would not introduce any new tax measures.

    Alogoskoufis said that the government submitted with the European Union its fiscal progress report, envisaging measures to cut the country's fiscal deficit below 3.0 percent of GDP by the end of next year.

    The report envisages that a 6.6 pct fiscal deficit in 2004 will be reduced to 3.6 pct this year and to 2.6 pct of GDP in 2006. The Greek minister noted the four percentage points cut in the country's fiscal deficit would be mainly the result of structural measures -of permanent nature- totalling 3.5 percentage points.

    Alogoskoufis said it would be the first time that Greece reduced its fiscal deficit below 3.0 percent of GDP and reiterated the government's goal to cut public spending and to combat tax evasion.

    [04] Legislation on cybercrime, child porn in the wings

    Justice Minister Anastasios Papaligouras on Thursday told Parliament that his ministry is preparing a draft bill to combat cybercrime and to protect children from human-traffickers, prostitution and child pornography.

    Responding to a question put by ruling New Democracy MP Ioannis Ioannidis, Papaligouras said the new law would impose severe penalties and heavy fines on those dealing in child porn, while the bill will also address issues relating to the legal and psychological protection of the victims.

    These penalties will be even more severe when the pornographic material is disseminated over the Internet, the minister said.

    For example, dealing in child pornography will be punishable by up to one year's imprisonment and fines ranging from 10,000-100.000. The same offences using the Internet or computers will be punishable with at least two years imprisonment and fines of 50,000-100,000.

    For those engaged in child pornography 'habitually' or as a profession, meanwhile, the law imposes even harsher penalties of up to 10 years in prison and fines of 50,000-100,000. This rises to a minimum sentence of 10 years jail and fines of 100,000-500,000 in cases when severe bodily harm is caused as a result of producing the pornographic material.

    The draft bill will also introduce measures designed to protect the victims of child pornography from public exposure and psychological duress.

    Victims will be automatically assigned a lawyer to represent them, while the law will also provide for the psychiatric diagnosis and treatment of both the victim and the perpetrator. In addition, the statute of limitations is suspended throughout the period when the victim is underage, while the victim is not required to appear in court and can testify on video.

    The law will also forbid the publication of incidents that might reveal the victim's identity.

    [05] Ecumenical Patriarch visits 'Economist' HQ in London

    LONDON (ANA - A. Kourkoulas) Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I on Thursday paid a visit to the headquarters of the Economist Group in London, where he was met by Group CEO Helen Alexander and the director of the "The Economist" magazine Bill Emmott.

    They exchanged views on issues concerning the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Fanar, Istanbul, Turkey's course toward the European Union, relations between the Orthodox Churches and relations between Fanar and The Vatican, after the election of Pope Benedict XVI.

    Addressing the leadership of the influential and historic magazine, the Patriarch underlined that the job of the media also came with great responsibility.

    "You have the privilege of informing but at the same time an opportunity to mould human conscience," he stressed, noting that their "mission has some aspects of ministry".

    Bartholomew is in London in order to speak at the London School of Economics on "Religion in changing Europe".


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