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Presumption of Consent or a Lack Thereof of the Victim and the Presumption of Guilt (Innocence) of the Accused in Cases of Sexual Offences: Emphasise What Is Necessary, Cross Out Everything Unnecessary

https://doi.org/10.17589/2309-8678-2021-9-3-4-35

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Abstract

The article focuses on the significance and relevance of victims consent in sexual offenses cases. The case-law of national legal systems as well as of international judicial bodies demonstrates that consent is a conditio sine qua non for qualifying an act as a sexual offense. However, the recent examples of criminal cases raised from national and international jurisprudence allow authors to conclude that the non-consensual character of sexual acts is frequently complicated to prove in due to some peculiarities of the sexual offenses per se. This paper analyses the modern technique of sexual offenses criminalization which can be characterized by one of two possible approaches: first, the presumption of the alleged victim’s consent to sexual intercourse or, on the contrary, second, the presumption of the lack of thereof. Despite the fact that the second approach seems to be more favorable for alleged survivors, the implementation of this approach entails a number of difficulties. The main one is the hypothetical conflict with the metapresumption of criminal procedure (i.e. the presumption of innocence). In the paper this contradiction is analyzed from the perspective of the legislation and jurisprudence of different jurisdictions, as well as the practice of international judicial bodies (European Court of Human Rights, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda).

About the Authors

Gleb Besedin
Lomonosov Moscow State University
Russian Federation

Gleb Besedin (Moscow, Russia) – PhD Student, Faculty of Law

1, Bldg. 13-14 Leninskiye Gory, Moscow, 119991



Pavel Stepanov
Lomonosov Moscow State University
Russian Federation

Pavel Stepanov (Moscow, Russia) – Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law

1, Bldg. 13-14 Leninskiye Gory, Moscow, 119991



References

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3. Le Magueresse C. Viol et consentement en droit pénal français. Réflexions à partir du droit pénal canadien, 34 Archives de politique criminelle 223 (2012). https://doi.org/10.3917/apc.034.0223

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For citation:


Besedin G., Stepanov P. Presumption of Consent or a Lack Thereof of the Victim and the Presumption of Guilt (Innocence) of the Accused in Cases of Sexual Offences: Emphasise What Is Necessary, Cross Out Everything Unnecessary. Russian Law Journal. 2021;9(3):4-35. https://doi.org/10.17589/2309-8678-2021-9-3-4-35

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ISSN 2309-8678 (Print)
ISSN 2312-3605 (Online)