Russian President Vladimir Putin [official website] on Tuesday signed [press release] a bill [text, PDF, in Russian] into law that decriminalizes domestic violence to make it an administrative offense. The bill allows for criminal prosecution for repeat offenders but allows first time offenders who assault relatives to avoid criminal prosecution [JURIST report]. The move has garnered international condemnation [Guardian report], as it is believed a women in Russia dies every 40 minutes due to domestic violence related injuries.
Rights of women and girls are a contested topic on the global stage. Pending Russian legislation may weaken the country’s protections against domestic violence, Human Rights Watch said [JURIST report] in January. Lebanese lawmakers took steps in December to overturn a law [JURIST report] that allows rapists to avoid prosecution if they marry their victims.