This question is somehow a followup of this one (split suggestion). At the end of January 2017, Romanian Government (executive branch) made several changes to Criminal Law using a Government Ordinance.

Criminal Law obeys the "more favorable criminal law" principle which states (source):

Whenever, between the time of the final judgment in a criminal case and the time the sentence is fully served, a law is enacted that stipulates a lighter penalty, the original sentencing shall be reduced to the special maximum of the new sentencing if the previous one exceeded that special maximum.

Many analysts argued that the Government should not be able to perform such changes, because they cannot be fully reversed by the Parliament if rejected (it may take up to 30 days between Government ordinance being published officially and Parliament's final decision on the matter).

Question: Are there any other liberal democracies that allow such scenarios? (if the Executive can change via ordinances those laws where "more favorable principle" is applicable, as the Criminal Law)

Side note: during the short period of the democratic regime, many local analysts pejoratively argued about Romanian "democratic originality" and some included this question's subject in this area.

  • To be clear are you looking for any example of a country allowed to reduce punishment for a crime? Or just a unilateral example? – user9389 Apr 4 '17 at 16:41
  • @notstoreboughtdirt - it can be reduced to something like you said, but with an extra constraint: I am looking for other countries that allow reducing punishment for a crime through government (executive) ordinance. This is what happened in Romania and got hundreds of thousands of protesters in the streets. Some argued that this should not be a legal action for the Executive and I am wondering if this is also possible in other countries. – Alexei Apr 4 '17 at 18:00
  • So I'd think that would be all places where executives can make laws or modify sentencing. Which includes the US and I presume many other countries by delegating reviews of sentencing guidelines to some cabinet position. – user9389 Apr 4 '17 at 18:38
  • Yes. Theoretically, the Executive should change laws only for urgent matters (in Romania they are literally called "urgency ordinances" and they have been used to avoid infringements or fines from EU for legislation misalignment and similar cases). Common sense tells that Criminal Law changes are not urgent and must be subject to public debate in any liberal democratic country. That's why I specifically narrowed to liberal democratic countries. – Alexei Apr 4 '17 at 19:02
  • If you include emergency measures I think you get every country. I would be surprised if anyone was so committed to democracy as to not have an emergency plan where an executive could make changes in laws or sentencing on at least temporary basis or subject to later review. You are increasingly sounding like you are asking "this thing happed. Isn't that bad?" which is specifically discouraged. – user9389 Apr 4 '17 at 19:14

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