The Belize Criminal Code defines and criminalizes rape, including marital rape (Sections 46, 71-74); carnal knowledge of female child (Section 47); procuring or attempting to procure a woman (Section 49-50); compulsion of marriage (Section 58); incest by males (Section 62); abortion, miscarriage, and child destruction (Sections 111-12, 127). The Code mandates a minimum sentence of eight years for rape (Section 46), 12 years of carnal knowledge of a female child (Section 47), and a life sentence for habitual sex offenders (Section 48).
Of particular note:
- Marital rape under Section 72 requires a showing that the spouses have separated, the marriage is dissolved, an order or injunction has been made, granted or undertaken against the spouse, or that the sexual intercourse was preceded or accompanied by assault and battery. Lack of consent is not enough if the parties are married.
- The Criminal Code also criminalizes same-sex relationships under Section 53, which criminalizes “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any person or animal.”
- Abortion and the aiding of abortion are felonies and carry a prison term of 14 years to imprisonment for life under Section 111. There are limited exceptions under Section 112 if two registered medical practitioners agree that the abortion is necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother or her family or if the child may be seriously handicapped.