Overview of 115th Session - San Marino
On the 19th and 20th of October 2015, the Human Rights Committee reviewed the third periodic report of San Marino. For the first time the Committee reviewed a State report in double chambers, with half of the members reviewing the report of San Marino and the other half reviewing the report of Greece. Committee members regretted the lack of civil society participation in the reporting process of San Marino and requested measures to raise awareness of the process among civil society.
Specific attention was given to abortion, which is punished by law with 6 months in prison, except when the health of the mother is endangered. In practice, some cases of abortion are also allowed for reasons of honour. Committee members questioned whether the State party was considering abolishing the prohibition of abortion. In its reply, the State delegation recalled that the debate is very heated in San Marino, where the Catholic religion is very strong.
Freedom of expression was also discussed, especially with respect to defamation. The Committee considered that prison sentences for defamation were excessive, particularly when those are based on the concept of honour, which is subjective. The State party replied that honour should be protected on the same level as freedom of expression. Cases of defamation are assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Other issues were raised, such as the situation of children in conflict with the law. The experts expressed their concern about the lack of a comprehensive framework to protect children in the justice system. The San Marino delegation answered that due to the lack of resources and the small size of their State, there is no specific Court for minors, but they receive special protection. For instance the age of criminal liability had been raised from 12 to 14. Moreover, judges have the option to reduce a sentence when the perpetrator is a minor.
The Concluding Observations for which the State should provide information on the implementation within one year, concern:
The next (4th) periodic report should be submitted by the State party by 6 November 2022.