Justice Minister Yvonne Dausab this afternoon tabled the rape amendment bill.

The minimum conviction of rape is increased from a minimum of 5 to ten years, and where the rape is committed under coercive circumstances, the sentence is now increased from a minimum of 10 to 15 years.

The Bill increases the sentence from a minimum of 15 to 20 years in respect of perpetrators who are found guilty of rape where the complainant has suffered grievous bodily or mental harm and is under the age of thirteen and is by reason of age exceptionally vulnerable(persons with mental and physical disabilities included).

The bill prohibits courts to draw any inference only from the absence of semen, other bodily fluids on the complainant, or from the absence of evidence of rupture of a complainant’s hymen. Therefore, the court is tasked with holistically evaluating the evidence before making its ruling. Dausab says semen and other bodily fluids can easily get lost.

Victims will be informed whether bail has been granted to the accused, the conditions of bail imposed and if bail proceedings are postponed. It does not however mean that the courts are expected to deny bail solely because of this.

By Observer