The Icelandic Minister of Justice wants to do away with the concepts of ‘restored honor’ and an ‘unblemished reputation’, and plans to submit a bill to Parliament this autumn proposing changes to the applicable laws, reports RÚV.
The move comes in the wake of recent harsh criticism of the process of the ‘restitution of civil rights’ (the official English legal term for ‘restored honor’), after a man previously convicted of sexual offenses against four teenage girls over the course of nearly a decade had his request for the reinstatement of his civil rights and license to practice law approved.
Minister of Justice Sigríður Á. Andersen said that there is reason to review the process. She believes it is wisest to undertake a comprehensive review and abolish the concept of ‘restored honor.’ She noted, however, that it would be necessary to simultaneously make changes to numerous laws that stipulate an ‘unblemished reputation’ (or in legal parlance, being in possession of full civil rights; never having been convicted of a felony) as a prerequisite to the discharge of certain positions and offices.
One proposal to emerge from the recent debate is to make convicted sex offenders wait longer before they can apply to the Ministry of Justice for the restoration of their civil rights. Under current law, such offenders can apply five years after completing their sentences. Sigríður pointed out that there are precedents for sex offenders and child abusers not being allowed to work in certain occupations. It has also been proposed that the changes apply to those who work in law enforcement.
The Minister currently has a request for the restitution of civil rights on her desk from another convicted sex offender, which she plans to examine very closely. When asked whether any changes to the law could cover applications already submitted, she responded that “It’s under review. We regularly receive requests on the restitution of rights, and they take different lengths of time to be processed by the Ministry. I will look at it carefully.”