Cyprus MPs passed a law that makes femicide a distinct crime punishable with life imprisonment as domestic violence is on the rise.
Twenty femicides have been committed in Cyprus since 2019 following the murder of an 82-year-old woman by her 84-year-old husband in Limassol last month.
The 20 murders include the killings of five women and two young girls who were slain at the hands of Cyprus’ first serial killer.
Police said that in 2019 nine femicides (69%) were recorded from 13 murders.
The seven involved the five foreign women and two children slain at the hands of serial killer Nicos Metaxas.
Metaxas abducted and murdered his victims from the Philippines, Romania, and Nepal between September 2016 and August 2018.
In 2020, five femicides (33%) were recorded from 15 murders. Another five femicides (35%) were carried out in 2021, out of 14 murders.
The bill, tabled by Annita Demetriou – the first female House speaker — was passed with 38 votes and four against on Thursday.
Speaking at the plenary, Demetriou said that each femicide corresponds to a woman, not a number.
She said that all these individuals lost their lives because they were women, by men they trusted, who exerted power over them.
DISY MP Rita Superman said the motive is an integral element in sentencing, adding that it is not about feminism but human rights.
AKEL MP Andreas Pasiourtides expressed some legal concerns but said anything done toward awareness is important.
DIKO Parliamentarian Christiana Erotokritou said that violence against women, usually domestic and sexual, is a form of discrimination.
Chrysis Pantelidis of DIKO said the new legislation is another step that allows us to see the extent of the problem.
ELAM MP Soteris Ioannou believes the law will not solve Cyprus’ social problems.
DIPA MP Alekos Tryfonidis said that during the pandemic, femicides increased worldwide, and Cyprus was no exception.
Green MP Alexandra Attalides said that femicide is the intentional killing of women because they are women and is the most violent manifestation of gender discrimination and inequality.
Independent MP Andreas Themistokleous said that murder is the term that fully covers both victims and perpetrators.