DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced on Saturday amendments to its personal status, civil transaction and penal and criminal procedure laws.
The amendments come as part of the UAE’s efforts to develop its legislative and investment environment and to foster tolerance, Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported.
The new laws, which were approved by President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, include:
- Allowing non-citizens to choose the laws that would apply to them regarding inheritance in the personal status law
- Decriminalizing acts in the penal code that do not cause harm to others
- Allowing the federal public prosecutor the right to determine misdemeanors and irregularities that are subject to the penal code
- Abolishing the article that provides mitigating excuses for committers of so-called ‘honor crimes’ and subjecting them to provisions that apply to murder crimes in the penal code
The amendments to personal status and civil transaction codes aim to ensure the stability of the financial interests of foreign investors in UAE, according to WAM, while amendments to the penal code and criminal procedure law aim to protect “personal liberties and societal security.”
A number of amendments to the penal code decriminalize acts that do not cause harm to others and lift ambiguity from texts that considered these acts as punishable by law.
The amendments also expand the scope of the application of the criminal order so that the federal public prosecutor, in agreement with public prosecutors in local judicial authorities, has the right to determine misdemeanors that are subject to provisions of the penal code.
They aim to facilitate procedures and alleviate pressure on the judiciary system, especially in cases of minor crimes.
The laws are effective immediately and, according to WAM, reflect the progressive measures to improve living standards for people from around the world living in the UAE.
With the UAE home to more than 190 nationalities, amendments to existing laws and the introduction of the new laws seek to allow non-Emirati residents to have their personal affairs dealt with according to the law of their home country and ensuring the UAE is accommodating to their needs, WAM reported.