CHISINAU - Moldova's constitutional court has banned the use of chemical castration to punish convicted paedophiles, ruling that it represents a violation of fundamental human rights.
Far-right deputies from Moldova's Liberal party pushed through a law last year providing for chemical castration for Moldovans and foreigners convicted of sexual abuse of children under 15.
They argued that Moldova, a poor former Soviet republic sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, had become a destination for international sex tourists.
Chemical castration involves a man being injected with drugs that effectively blunt his sex drive for a period of time, and does not involve any surgery.
The court ruled on Thursday that the procedure represented medical intervention against a person's will and was therefore a violation of basic human rights.
It said that, while rape was a serious crime, it already carried severe penalties up to imprisonment for life.
Since the law was passed by parliament last year, five people have been sentenced to chemical castration. But the procedure was not carried out in any of the cases while pending the ruling on its constitutionality.