At its session on Wednesday the government sent a draft bill on amendments to the criminal law code which defines that possession of narcotics for personal use will in future be treated as a misdemeanor and not as a criminal act.
Presenting the bill Justice Minister Orsat Miljenic explained that the law was being amended as criminal proceedings were virtually never conducted in practise for cases of personal possession of narcotics. Relieving the relevant bodies of these cases will facilitate investigations against those who produce and sell drugs.
Penalties for dealing have been sharpened which means that dealers can be sentenced up to 15 years imprisonment.
Miljenic explained that the amendments did not mean that possession of drugs would go without corrective measures.
Offenders will be charged with fines between five and twenty thousand kuna and may be sent to rehabilitation, he added.
The new law does not define what amount can be considered to be for personal use. Miljenic explained that this was done to avoid dealers finding loopholes in such a provision.
Minister Miljenic presented a proposal to extend the definition of the criminal act for organising unlawful betting and gambling in an effort to prevent other criminal acts related to illegal betting and gambling - gambling of minors, blackmail, addiction to gambling.
A new bill is being proposed to be more in line with the Treaty with the Holy See which provides that apart from attorneys, confessors too are to be exempted from the obligation of reporting a criminal offence.
Sexual offences relating to minors will in future have to be reported by members of the perpetrator's family and the statute of limitations is now defined from the point of adulthood and not when the offence was committed as stands in the current law.
Amendments to legislation will facilitate penalties for "reckless" boating which will incur harsher penalties than wanton driving on the roads.
The government accepted amendments to the Law on Pre-School Education which will introduce a mandatory pre-school education programme for all children - one year prior to regular school.
According to Education Minister Zeljko Jovanovic, most children attended pre-school now however those children that did not attend pre-school often showed difficulty in keeping up with other children once they entered grade 1, he said.