The constitutional court in Moldova has banned the use of chemical castration to punish convicted paedophiles, ruling that it represents a violation of fundamental human rights.
Liberal party deputies pushed through a law last year providing for chemical castration for anyone convicted of sexual abuse of children.
They argued that Moldova, a former Soviet republic located 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.
While rape was a serious crime, the court said 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.