• Generally, retrospective criminal laws are not permitted in Victoria under s. 27(1). However, the Charter establishes an exception to this prohibition in section 27(4) with respect to conduct which would have constituted offences under international law at the time they were committed.

 

  • The prohibition on retrospectivity does not apply in respect of legislation or policy providing for the trial of persons for an offence under international law.

 

  • Current international law offences covered by this section include:
    • crimes against humanity;
    • war crimes;
    • the crime of piracy; and
    • the crime of genocide.
  • Further international crimes may be created in the future. If you have a policy in which you plan to create a retrospective criminal law offence, you should check whether the offence is also an offence in international law. If it is, it may fall within the scope of s. 27(4) and be permitted despite the general prohibition in the Charter on retrospective criminal offences.