Digitization Minister Sebastian Borduga calls for a 7-year prison sentence for graffiti on the walls of government buildings

As a member of Parliament, he launched a bill this spring, which he submitted to Parliament. Borduga points out that the penalty stipulated in the Penal Code for these acts, which provides for a prison sentence of 1 to 5 years, is insignificant in relation to the harm caused by them and does not discourage these subversive acts. Last week, the law failed to vote in the Senate because it did not meet the quorum, after the legal body earlier adopted an amendment recognizing only graffiti painted on heritage buildings, not on state buildings. Real estate, which only increased the minimum sentence, from one to two years in prison, while retaining the maximum, which is 5 years, of the current criminal code.

The legislative proposal of PNL MP Sebastian Borduga, the current minister in the Ciuca government, is related to amending the Criminal Code and has the support of only three other MPs from the National Liberal Party by signing. These are Florian Emil Dumitru, Olivia Diana Morar and Vito Stensko.

Sebastian Bordoga stimulates his bill by the fact that Article 253, paragraph 3, of the Penal Code penalizes the aggravated form of the crime of destruction, respectively when the act relates to the destruction of assets that are part of cultural heritage, such as antiquities, historical documents, goods of interest Artistic, goods of ethnographic interest, goods of scientific and technical interest. Punishment limits, in the form established by criminal law, for such acts are from 1 to 5 years in prison, which can be applied to graffiti, made illegally, in private buildings, in public buildings, on historical monuments, on buildings located in the historical, architectural or cultural heritage, protected by specific normative laws.

An example is the deliberate vandalism of the “Ionel Brătianu” house.

Sebastian Borduga wrote in an explanatory note, a document spread over 18 pages, which seeks to justify the need to adopt an invoice that is itself published on only one sheet.

The Deputy Minister states, among other things, that “recently, important targets, such as the Roman Athenaeum or the historic house of Ionel Protiano, in the center of Bucharest, have been vandalized with graffiti, and their outer facades have been destroyed.” “But the phenomenon of changing the exterior facades of some buildings belonging to historical and cultural heritage exists all over the country and does not seem to be reduced by coercion by the state,” said Sebastian Bordoga.

Repairs cost a lot and don’t keep up with the damage

Thus, the aforementioned document states that the limits of punishment set forth in the current Criminal Code are “little, compared to the damage done, most often, to cultural heritage affected by writings, drawings, paintings with graffiti or other types of permanent paints. Public authorities that own cultural heritage. Affected or other assets in its public or private domain are unable to keep pace with the repairs and rehabilitation of facades destroyed by these designs. The rehabilitation costs are huge and far exceed the public budgets of those authorities.”

Specifically, the bill initiated by Sebastian Bordoga directly seeks to increase the penalty limits, from the aggravated form of the crime of destruction, and thus provides for an increase in imprisonment from 1 to 5 years, from 2 to 7 years in prison.

The author of the project states that these limits follow the logic in the form described for the article of the Penal Code criminalizing theft and which states that “if the theft is carried out on property that is part of the years of cultural heritage”. “.

How EU countries punish the illegal drawing or painting of the walls of heritage buildings

Liberal MP Sebastian Bordoga is also motivated by the fact that by increasing the penalty limits for such acts, the goal is to discourage the commission of acts of destruction, through writing, drawing or painting on the fronts of goods that are part of the culture. legacy. Moreover, in the case of the aggravated form of the crime of destruction, there is no need to file a prior complaint by the injured party, because the criminal case proceeds ex officio.

The quoted document also states that “the field of criminalization will also include the protection of those historical buildings which, although not classified as cultural heritage, are the property of the state or of territorial administrative units.” So, the aggravated form of the crime of damaging graffiti includes damage to the external walls of buildings of institutions and public authorities that are not in the cultural heritage, “but represent, through the purpose they serve, state power and public authorities the image of the Roman state as a whole.”

In fact, the Liberal Parliamentarian, in his explanatory note, made a comparison between the relevant criminal and administrative legislation of the EU member states. Regarding the imprisonment penalty, according to this comparison, Romania has heavier penalties, even without increasing the penalty limits.

Thus, in Austria, such acts are punishable by imprisonment from 6 months to 5 years. In Belgium, the penalty is imprisonment from one to six months and a fine of 250 euros. In the Czech Republic, the penalty is imprisonment from 6 months to 6 years. In Denmark, such acts are punishable by a fine or imprisonment of up to one year and six months.

Brake punishes such actions with a fine of up to 3,750 euros, up to 45,000 euros, and imprisonment for 3 years. In Germany, this pest is punishable by a fine or imprisonment for up to two years. In Greece, also for two years in prison. The harshest penalty is applied in Slovenia, which is imprisonment for 8 years, if a heritage building of great importance is destroyed.

The law fell into the Senate. But most of the votes came from PSD and Diana Șoșoacă. USSR declined

The bill was submitted for debate in the Romanian Senate, as the first more serious chamber, the whole body, by vote, rejected the initiative, on May 18, 2022, by lack of a quorum. In fact, the form in which he entered the vote was different from Sebastian Borduga. If the penalty, in its written form, is imprisonment from 2 to 7 years for the destruction of property belonging to the cultural heritage, the public or private domain of the state or territorial administrative units, the Senate Legal Committee – Rapporteur Committee, unanimously approved the amendment.

In accordance with this recognized amendment, only the minimum penalty amount was increased in the current form of the Criminal Code, from one year of imprisonment to two years. The 5-year limit remains the same, depending on the accepted amendment. Moreover, this criminal penalty is punishable only if the destruction relates to goods that are part of the cultural heritage, and not those that are not part of it, but which are owned by the state.

Also interesting is what happened in the vote in the Senate on May 18. 71 senators were present in the plenary, of whom only 50 voted in favour. 19 were from PNBL, 25 from PSD, 5 from UDMR, to which the unaffiliated Diana Șoșoacă vote was added. Twenty-one senators of the Union of Socialist Republics present abstained from voting.

The bill, in the form submitted by Sebastian Bordoga, was submitted to the Chamber of Deputies, which is also the decision-making forum, on May 23, 2022. The Permanent Bureau referred the law to the Committee on Legal Affairs, Discipline and Immunities, which must be amended until June 2. The report must be completed and submitted to the plenary for a final vote by 14 June 2022.

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