Samoa

Last updated on: 3 May 2012

Criminalisation of HIV transmission/exposure

Samoa
Whether Specific law enacted: 
No
Number of people prosecuted: 
0
Number of people convicted: 
0
Applicable law: 

Crimes Ordinance 1961 

Health Ordinance 1959

Key wording in the law: 

Crimes Ordinance 1961

(s 78) Common assault-

(s 79) Grievous bodily harm

(s 80) Actual bodily harm

(s 81) Acts or omissions causing bodily harm

Health Ordinance 1959  infectious disease

Key Cases: 

None

Discussion: 

Crimes Ordinance 1961 (s 78) Common assault-

(1) Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year assaults any other person.

(2) "Assault" under this law means the act of intentionally applying or attempting to apply force to another person directly or indirectly; threatening by any act or gesture to apply such force, if the other person believes on reasonable grounds that he has the ability to act on this threat.

Crimes Ordinance 1961 (s 79) Grievous bodily harm - A person who wilfully and without lawful justification causes grievous bodily harm to another is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years.

Crimes Ordinance 1961 (s 80) Actual bodily harm - Any one who wilfully and without lawful justification causes actual bodily harm to any person is liable to imprisonment for a term of up to two years.

Crimes Ordinance 1961 (s 81) Acts or omissions causing bodily harm -An individual is liable to imprisonment for a maximum sentence of two years who by any act or omission causes bodily harm to any person in such circumstances that, if death had been caused, he would have been guilty of manslaughter.

The assault offences under the Crimes Ordinance 1961 are sufficient for prosecuting offences of wilful tranmission.

Health Ordinance 1959 Part IV Infectious Diseases

Section 2 "Infectious disease" means any disease for the time being specified in the First Schedule to this Ordinance, and includes any other disease which may be declared by the Minister by notice in the Western Samoa Gazette to be an infectious disease: 

The Act was amended and gazetted in 1988 with the inclusion of HIV/AIDS in the list of infectious diseases.

Section 29. Special Powers of Director- The Director may from time to time, if authorised in writing so to do by the Minister, exercise the following special powers for the purpose of preventing the outbreak or spread of any infectious disease, -

(f) He may require persons, places, buildings, premises, animals, and things to be isolated, quarantined, or disinfected as he thinks fit:

(h) He may forbid persons to leave the place in which they are isolated or quarantined until they have been medically examined and found to be free from infectious disease, and until they have undergone such preventive treatment as he may in such case prescribe:

Section 36. Isolation of persons likely to spread infectious disease-

(1) The Director or any medical practitioner employed by the Department or any inspector, in any case where in the interests of the public health he thinks it expedient so to do, may make an order for the removal of any person suffering from any infectious disease to a hospital or other place where such person may be effectually isolated.

(2) An order under this section shall be made in every case where the Director or such medical practitioner or inspector is satisfied that the patient cannot without removal be effectually isolated or properly attended.

(3) An order under this section may be executed by the Director or such medical practitioner or inspector or by any person authorised in that behalf by the Director or such medical practitioner or inspector, and may be executed by force if necessary.

(4) Every person who wilfully disobeys an order under this section or who obstructs or delays or in any way interferes with the prompt execution thereof commits an offence and is liable to a fine not exceeding [$40].

Survey respondents/Organisations working on HIV and the Law: 

Pacific Island AIDS Foundation

Further reading: 

Colvin E (2002). Criminal responsibility under the South Pacific codes

Other laws and policies with an impact on responses to HIV

Laws and regulations relating to entry, stay or residence in the country: 

Foreigners applying for a residency or work permit and who would like to stay in Samoa for more than 12 months are required to undergo a medical examination, which may include an HIV-test.

People entering Samoa are required to carry evidence of a yellow fever vaccination if arriving from infected areas.

For updated information, please go to: www.hivrestrictions.org

Laws relating to same sex, sexual relations: 

Male to Male relationships: Not Legal

Punishments for male to male relationships: Imprisonment of less than 10 years

Female to Female Relationships: Legal

Marriage and Substitutes for Marriage: No law

For updated information, please go to: http://ilga.org

Protective laws and policies for people living with HIV: 

Yes