For years, families of rape victims in Argentina, led by the organization Madres del Dolor, have lobbied to create a nationwide genetic registry for perpetrators of sexual crimes. Today, the Executive Branch heeded the call, putting into practice a law approved in 2013 to regulate the “National Registry of Genetic Data Linked to Sexual Crimes.”
The decree, published this morning in the Official Gazette, was signed by President Mauricio Macri, Chief of Staff Marco Peña, and Ministers Germán Garavano (Justice), Patricia Bullrich (Security), and Lino Barañao (Science and Technology). The bill passed four years ago. But the move to regulate picked up steam after Sebastián Wagner raped and killed Micaela García, a 21-year-old woman from Gualeguaychú, this April.
According to new regulations, the registry will “exclusively facilitate the clarification of facts subject to judicial investigation in matters related to crimes against sexual integrity, with the purpose of identifying the persons responsible.” The newly created National Commission on Genetic Footprints will oversee operations, “taking into account the operational possibilities of the agencies involved in the various jurisdictions.” The commission includes a representative from the Ministry of Justice, another from the Ministry of Security and a third from the Ministry of Science.
From now on, the court that issues the conviction in a rape trial must obtain the genetic profile of the convicted person and submit it to the registry within five days of signing the order. For judgments issued prior to the effective date of registration, the court will have six months to order the extraction of necessary biological samples, and two months if the convicted person is currently detained. Upon receipt, the judge will have five days to submit to the registry.
This morning’s decree established that DNA must be obtained in the least invasive way possible, “taking into account gender and other particular circumstances.” The use of coercive power cannot exceed that which is strictly necessary for extraction.