On May 24 the controversial bill to aggravate the Criminal Procedure Act was passed and reconfirmed by the House of Representatives: the revisions contain enhanced wire-tapping activities by state’s authorities, introduction of plea bargaining that may induce false charges and ‘a partial filming’ of police interrogation process. The next agenda for the police and prosecutor’s authorities is to enact a law to criminalize conspiracy.
DON’T ALLOW PRESENTATION OF BILL TO DIET TO ENACT LAW OF CONSPIRACY
A bill to criminalize conspiracy has been submitted to the Diet three times, but failed in vain.
The controversial bill is designed for a law to punish a person involved in an agreement at a stage when preparatory processes are absent and prior to conducting a certain criminal action, a period much earlier than consequences are brought about. For this reason the bill extremely ambiguous and imprecise as it does not describe concretely who should be penalized.
Concerning the past three submissions to the Diet, the bill defined ‘conspiracy’ as an act of ‘a person who connived with somebody in crime’. It did not elaborate content of crimes and did not provide a degree of concreteness of a crime.
Violation of rule of law
The bill provides other conditions in combination; ‘as an activity of a certain organization’ and ‘an act to be conducted by an organization in order to fulfill a specific action’. The definitions are exceedingly vague and uncertain and nulla poena sin lege, a doctrine of rule of law, is clearly infringed. The rule of law sets forth that a crime is established when a concrete action is committed and such an action must be defined unquestionably as a criminal act.
The bill sent to the Diet debates previously specified the crimes which set penalty over four years in prison, and it provided over 600 types of crimes, including theft and embezzlement, which cannot be called special crimes. Among these crimes is included violation of the Public Office Election Law. Clearly, the fundamental human rights, including freedom of expression, may be unjustly infringed.
Taking advantage of Revised Wire-tapping Law
The concept of conspiracy will penalize an agreement of private persons, so content of conversations among private persons can be investigated by police authority. Therefore, thanks to the revised Wire-tapping Law (Communication Interception Act), police authority will be allowed to survey conversations of people (by telephone, electronics mail, SNS and etc.). Consequently the right of people’s privacy may be dishonored to an exceeding level.
Until today the government has maintained that it is necessary to enact a law to criminalize conspiracy in order to ratify the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
Sophism for Legislation
The UN Convention does not require creation of criminalization of conspiracy. It just demands each signing country to legislate necessary acts on the basis of the domestic laws. Japan can ratify the convention as it has rules to penalize a broad range of unlawful attempts and the penalty rules to apply to felonies.
In other words ratification of the convention and enactment of the law are different. The government’s explanation is an excuse to set up a crime of conspiracy. It does not make up a reason for legislation.
Accordingly, the bill does not deserve to be sent for the Diet debates, not to mention legislation. The content of the bill violates the principle of modern criminal code. It will bring in a hazardous system to breach markedly the fundamental human rights. The bill must not be submitted to the Diet.
May 31, 2016