Victims Rights and the Standing
of victims in criminal procedures
Focus in judicial cooperation lies
traditionally on the investigating
authorities and speeding up their
Other important actors in die criminal
procedure are:
Shift of focus
 From „repressive measures“, targeting only
the interests of investigating authorities to
minimum standards safeguarding the rights
of the defendant and the victim
 For enhancing mutual trust between the
judicial authorities, but also among the
citizens towards other EU legal systems
 Framework Decısıon on the Standıng of
Vıctıms ın 2001
Conclusions of the European Council
in Tampere 1999
Minimum standards should
be drawn up on the
protection of victims of
crimes, on particular on
victim's access to justice
and on their right to
compensation for damages,
Respect and Recognition
 Victims should have a real and appropriate
role in the criminal legal system
Differences between euroopean continental systems ans
common law
 They shall be treated with due respect for the
dignity of the individual during proceedings
Unclear definition, difficult relation to the rights of the
 Special attenntion shall be given to
particularly vulnerable victims
Who is particularly vulnerable? Children, handicapped or
victims of specific crimes, such as rape, trafficking etc.
Right to be heard and to supply
 Most MS grant victims an effective role during the criminal
procedure. The exact extend varies however.
 Again, the common law countries (Ireland and the United
Kingdom) do not consider victims as a „party“ of the
criminal procedure
 MS shall take the necessary measures to ensure that its
authorities question victims only insofar as necessary for
the purpose of the investigation
 MS have taken different measures to comply with that,
f.e. Training courses for judges and prosecutors on how
to question or a right for the victim to refuse subsequent
Right to receive information
 Victims shall have access, from their
first contact with law enforcement
authorities, in „languages commonly
understood“ to information relevant for
the protection of their interest.
What is a „language commonly understood“?
Way of accession: personal information,
information paper, booklet, internet.
Information which should be
 Organisations or authorities to which a victim can
turn to receive support
 The type of support which can be received
 Where and how to report the offence
 Procedures following such a report
 Where and how to obtain protection
 Access tolegal advice/legal aid
 Compensation
 Special arrangements for non resident victims
 Notification about the outcome of the proceedings
and the release of the offender from prison
Communication safeguards
 Taking into consideration the
communication difficulties, by
language problems, educational level,
age, trauma
Reimbursement of expenses
 Right to reimbursement of expenses which
have occured due to the legitimate
participation in the criminal proceedings,
f.e. As a witness according to the rules of
national law
 Problem: in some Member States the victim
has to claim the expenses from the offender
and thereby bears the risk that the offender
cannot pay
 In most MS iit is a claim towards the state!
Right to protection
 MS shall ensure a „suitable level“ of protection
of victims, particularly as regards their safety
and privacy
For example by prevention the taking of photos in court room
 Avoiding contact between victim and offender
within the court premises
Special waiting areas for victims
 Specialconsideration shall be given to the most
vulnerabel vivtims, esp. Children
To that extend new technologies can be of help, such as the
transmission via video conference
Right to compensation in the course
of criminal proceedings /mediation
 Most MS recognized a partie civile
within a criminal precedure, in which
the victim can obtain a compensation
from the offender
In Common Law no such civil procedure existswithin the
criminal procedure
 Mediation shall be promoted for
offences the MS considers appropriate
 Any settlement between the offender
and the victim shall be taken into
Victims resident in another MS
 MS shall ensure that the specific
difficulties are minimised, for example
by making use of video or tlefone
conferencing and hearing
 Victims shall be able to make a
complaint before the competent
authorities of his State where he
resides. The authorities of that Staate
shall transmit der statement without
delay to the competent authorities of
Involvement of Victim Support
Organisations /NGO`s
 Important for the victim, because they
can be partial and clearly stand on the
side of the victim!
 Problem: Very different structures in
the MS
 Not alle VSO`s are funded sufficiently
Training for judges, prosecutors and
 MS shall encourage initiatives enabling
personnel involved in proceedings or
otherwise in contact with victims to
receive suitable training with particular
refernce to the needs of the most
vulnerable groups
Special situation of judged
Specialized staff in most MS

Victims Rights and the Standing of victims in criminal