The permissibility of pharmacotherapy for paedophilic sex offenders in the light of the rights protected under the European Convention on Human Rights
thesisposted on 08.12.2015, 15:19 by Zeynep Burca Akbaba
The use of pharmacotherapy for paedophilic sex offenders (PSOs) has been debated amongst the public, policy makers and scholars regarding the benefits that it brings. Still, controversy remains because pharmacotherapy causes impairment of physical and mental integrity, serious side-effects, ethical and legal dilemmas, and human rights challenges. This thesis investigates a reasonable way of addressing the concerns over pharmacotherapy for PSOs. There is scope for the law to pursue an approach of depriving sex offenders of their liberty to engage in a sexual relationship with the imposition of pharmacotherapy (Deprivation of Sexual Liberty, DoSL) as a means of addressing their sexual criminal behaviour and in the interests of protecting society. I argue that paedophilia has significant effects on individuals’ capacity to critically reflect on first-order-desires which signifies a conflict between first-order-desires and second-order-desires or higher-order-desires. This conflict compromises the capacity of those offenders to make autonomous decisions in terms of being subject to pharmacotherapy. Employing the European Convention on Human Rights as a framework, the use of pharmacotherapy engages or interferes with protected rights. Human rights issues concerning the use of pharmacotherapy for PSOs can be addressed using conformity with the standards established by the Strasbourg Court under Article 3 or being subject to justifiable limitations under Articles 8 and 12. By applying this human-rights-based assessment to DoSL, I also argue that this alternative approach to the problem of PSOs is in accordance with the Convention. The originality of this thesis, therefore, lies in three main arguments: (i) pharmacotherapy can be used as an involuntary treatment for PSOs; (ii) it can be adopted by the criminal justice systems as an appropriate and justified punishment for those offenders; and (iii) Deprivation of Sexual Liberty can be considered as an alternative approach to resolve the problem of paedophilic sexual crimes.