Basic information on the crime of human exposure to infection (Article 161 of the Criminal Code)
The punishability of another person’s exposure to infection with certain types of diseases is an expression of the special protection of human health and life. The protection against infection provided for in the Penal Code is so far-reaching that it does not only concern the infection of the disease, but also the direct exposure of another person to the disease.
Exposure to infection which disease is punishable?
It is punishable to be infected with HIV, a venereal or infectious disease, a serious incurable disease or a truly life-threatening disease. An infectious disease, the contagion to which an aggrieved party is exposed, does not have to be both a real life threatening disease and a serious incurable disease.
Is the crime of human exposure to infection committed when there is no infection?
The direct exposure of another person to the disease is already punishable. Therefore, an infection is not required for the crime to be recognized. Therefore, exposure to disease is considered as a formal crime (ineffective, independent of the effect of infection).
The immediacy of another person’s exposure to the disease is in a situation that really threatens another person with the danger of being infected, for example in the case of contact with saliva or contaminated blood.
Who can be responsible for the crime of exposing another person to contagion?
The perpetrator of a crime can only be a person infected with HIV, a venereal or infectious disease, a serious incurable disease or a truly life-threatening disease. It is therefore an individual crime (as opposed to a universal one that can be committed by everyone).
Only a person aware of their HIV carrier or disease is responsible for the exposure of another person to infection.
An offense can only be committed intentionally with direct or possible intent. Therefore, an offense can only be committed by those who, knowing about their infection, want to infect another person or anticipate the possibility of infecting and accepting it.
The direct exposure to HIV infection is punishable by imprisonment of up to 3 years. Penalty exposure, restriction of liberty or imprisonment for up to one year is punishable as a punishable exposure to another disease.
Is the offense prosecuted by the prosecutor?
Prosecution is carried out on request. It is therefore necessary that a crime victim files a petition for prosecution of the perpetrator. After submitting the application, the proceedings are conducted with the participation of the prosecutor who, after collecting the evidence, may apply to the court with an indictment.
Can the aggrieved party demand from the offender remedy for the damage caused by the infection?
A person who has been the victim of an offense may pursue criminal or civil proceedings for compensation, indemnity or pension in the event that he suffered harm or loss as a result of crime of human exposure to infection. It can be represented by a lawyer both in civil proceedings and in criminal penal proceedings, in order to punish the perpetrator and pursue his financial claims.