Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The U.N. Covenants on Human Rights: A New Crime In Cuba?

The U.N. Covenants on Human Rights: A New Crime In Cuba? / Cuban Law
Association, Wilfredo Vallin Almeida
Cuban Law Association, For Another Cuba

As we have seen, there seems to be a new offense under the Penal Code
and the Criminal Procedure Act (LPP), a "crime" that seems interesting
to analyze with regards to what it might mean to the future.

And I begin this analysis with what — over so many years — has been
understood to be a CRIME and when it does and doesn't exist.

People like the Italian Cesare Bonesana, Marquis of Beccaria, with his
famous book On Crimes and Punishment published in 1764, and the
well-regarded author German Paul Johann von Feuerbach who, in 1813,
issued the famous legal maxim Nullun crime, nulla poena sine praevia
lege ("No crime, no punishment, without a previous punishment law"),
gave a sharp twist to what was then called "criminal law."

Those words of Feuerbach, translated into our language and brought to
the present, mean that "for a person to be arrested for certain
behavior, it is essential that their conduct is registered as a crime in
the Penal Code prior to its commission. Otherwise, there is no crime. "

Of course, in the case of an infraction, (I repeat, previously defined
and sanctioned by law) it proceeds from the arrest of the person and
taking him to a police station to clarify the facts… but I am referring
to the violation of a REAL criminal standard, not an invention.

The Criminal Procedure Act explains, as the name suggests, the ways in
which the authorities and the law enforcement agents can respond to
criminal behavior.

Thus, in Title IV, Chapter I, Articles 241-244 of Cuba's criminal
statutes it states, clearly, the cases where an individual shall be
arrested and, precisely by being defined in it, the principle of
legality applies to everyone and we are subject to it without exception.

To detain someone, except in cases established by law, and inventing,
for that purpose, "offenses" that do not exist in the Penal Code or
situations not falling under the Criminal Procedure Act, is simply to
invade a sphere that belongs only to the legislative body, which in the
Cuban case is called, as far as we know, the National Assembly of
People's Power.

And that is precisely what happens when a citizen is taken to a police
unit and there is no Act of Detention, or he is taken and what is
written as justification for his arrest is … "Interest of CI
(counterintelligence )," a reason for detention that does not appear at
all where it should be mandatory: in the aforementioned Penal Code.

We can not give legitimacy to bodies that take on a function that is not
theirs and which is so important for social relations: the creation of law.

Moreover, lawyers for the Cuban Law Association have never seen a legal
prohibition stating that the behavior of citizens urging the government
to ratify the U.N. Covenants signed by a Cuban representative four years
ago in New York City, is an offense of any kind.

But, as might occur with the regulations for whether to grant an exit
permit — the so-called "white card" — to citizens who want to leave the
country and that we have never seen, perhaps it is in these Covenants
which we still cannot read.

If so, then please publish it so that we citizens will know that, in
Cuba, there is a new conduct prohibited by law: that of invoking the UN

September 10 2012

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