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					Minimal standards of criminal
proceedings – the victims




 Workshop 4
 Alexandria, Arab Republic of Egypt
 by Perry C. Quak
 The Netherlands
Contents

   Participants in criminal proceedings
   Position of the victim
   Rights of the victims before trial
   Rights of the victims during trial
   Financial compensations
   Assistance
   Rule of Law
                UNDP/POGAR Workshops on Human Rights,
                       12 March, Alexandria, Egypt
Criminal proceedings, only trial?

   Start of criminal proceedings:
    – not only with the interference of a judge
    – in fact starting with police investigations
   Unlawful investigations seriously affect
    the trial
   Treatment of the victim during
    investigations should be concern of
    court
                 UNDP/POGAR Workshops on Human Rights,
                        12 March, Alexandria, Egypt
Participants in criminal
proceedings
   Suspect
   Victim
   Witness
   Prosecutor
   Judges and registrar
   Defense lawyer
   Interpreter
               UNDP/POGAR Workshops on Human Rights,
                      12 March, Alexandria, Egypt
Position of the victim

   Victim: unwillingly involved
   Yet to be considered a party
    –   reporting crime to police
    –   standing as a witness before the court
    –   questioned by the defence lawyer
    –   being damaged
        (physically, financially, psychologically)
   Needs protection as well as critical
    approach
    – false allegations not acceptable !
                      UNDP/POGAR Workshops on Human Rights,
                             12 March, Alexandria, Egypt
Rights of the victims before trial

   Right to be taken serious when reporting
   Impartial approach by police
   Victim should be notified about the case
    – in general: there should be a right to know
      about your own case
    – but of course: no information about the
      ongoing („secret‟) police investigations

                 UNDP/POGAR Workshops on Human Rights,
                        12 March, Alexandria, Egypt
Rights of the victims before trial

   Victim should be informed about his/her
    rights at an early stage:
    – regarding right to complain about relevant
      decisions (e.g. not to prosecute)
    – regarding right to be heard by the Court
    – regarding right to financial compensation
    – regarding right to (legal) assistance
    – regarding right to (private) co-prosecution

                 UNDP/POGAR Workshops on Human Rights,
                        12 March, Alexandria, Egypt
Rights of the victims during trial

   Right to be present
   Interpreter
    – right to give statement in own language
   Lawyer
    – legal assistance related to legal position
   Right to private co-prosecution
   Financial compensations
                 UNDP/POGAR Workshops on Human Rights,
                        12 March, Alexandria, Egypt
Worldwide growing interest in
position of victims
   According to IAP Conferences:
    – in some jurisdictions a strong, own position
    – in some jurisdictions a weak position
   The Netherlands: position of victim
    strengthening, last decades
    – complain about decision not to prosecute
    – financial compensations
    – right to be heard by the court
                 UNDP/POGAR Workshops on Human Rights,
                        12 March, Alexandria, Egypt
Right to complain - in general

   International Covenant on Civil and
    Political Rights (Human Rights‟ Committee)
   European Convention on Human Rights
    – art. 34: complaints against violations of
      Human Rights by a State
    – anyone (also minors and relatives)
    – “immunity” for plaintiff

                 UNDP/POGAR Workshops on Human Rights,
                        12 March, Alexandria, Egypt
Right to complain -Netherlands
   What decision can be complained about?
    – decision by prosecutor to dismiss the case
    – decision by prosecutor to (out-of-court) settlement
   Complainant: the victim, or its surviving
    relatives
   Forum: Court of Appeals
   Judgement:
    – reject the complaint, or
    – sustain the complaint, commanding the prosecutor
      to prosecute
                  UNDP/POGAR Workshops on Human Rights,
                         12 March, Alexandria, Egypt
Co-prosecution?

   In some jurisdictions (not the Netherlands)
   Should include:
    – co-deciding about the indictment
    – asking questions to the suspect/witnesses
    – comment on witnesses‟ statements
    – co-deciding about the demanded punishment
    – doing proposals to the court for additional
      evidence

                 UNDP/POGAR Workshops on Human Rights,
                        12 March, Alexandria, Egypt
Right to be heard by the Court

   Important that the voice of the victim
    can be heard during the trial
    – by the voice of the prosecutor
    – by a written victim‟s statement
    – by a personally spoken statement
   Role of the victim during this part of
    the process is different from the victim
    as a witness
                UNDP/POGAR Workshops on Human Rights,
                       12 March, Alexandria, Egypt
Victim‟s statement

   Aim: assessment of seriousness of crime
   Describing personal consequences:
    – physically
    – financially
    – socially
    – psychologically
    – relationally

                 UNDP/POGAR Workshops on Human Rights,
                        12 March, Alexandria, Egypt
Financial compensations -1

   Damage suffered by the victim should
    be compensated by offender
    – material damage (e.g. broken window, cost
      of medical examination, value of stolen
      good etc.)
    – immaterial damage (compensation for pain,
      psychological or relational suffering)
   Separate decision by Court

                UNDP/POGAR Workshops on Human Rights,
                       12 March, Alexandria, Egypt
Financial compensations -2

   The Netherlands: separate civil
    procedure as part of the criminal
    proceedings
    – victim may claim specific amount of
      financial compensation
    – well founded (bills, valuations, pictures etc.)
    – right to legal assistance
   Prosecution Service takes care of the
    execution (debt-collection)
                 UNDP/POGAR Workshops on Human Rights,
                        12 March, Alexandria, Egypt
Civil society organizations

   Victims need practical help and
    assistance
    – medical and social
    – financial and legal
    – protection (against threat or intimidation)
   Professional care:
    – civil society organizations (“Victims‟
      assistance organization”)
    – co-ordination of volunteers
                  UNDP/POGAR Workshops on Human Rights,
                         12 March, Alexandria, Egypt
Rule of Law

   Position of victim needs protection by
    law
   Impartiality: equal protection to all
   Procedural regulation by law:
    – right to complain (e.g. about non
      prosecution)
    – right to be heard in Court
    – right to compensation
                 UNDP/POGAR Workshops on Human Rights,
                        12 March, Alexandria, Egypt
thank you for your attention.
         any questions?


Perry C. Quak, LL.M, MPA
Solicitor-General
Court of Appeals, The Netherlands
e-mail: p.c.quak@om.nl

				
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