15. Ways to Improve the Protection of the Rights of the Victim in Criminal Proceedings. New Level and New Methods

  • Gunars Kutris
Keywords: Victim, law, information on the criminal proceedings, compensation.

Abstract

Comprehensive protection of the rights of the victim is receiving increasingly more attention both at national and international level. Thus, this study aims to analyse the rights of the victim – the legal regulations and practical application of the victim’s right to protect their rights to the highest possible degree.

The first part of the study is devoted to the victim’s right to be informed. This right is directly related to the victim’s opportunity to actively take part in the proceedings. A problem identified in this regard is the option provided in the law that a decision to refuse initiation of criminal proceedings may be written in an abridged form. An additional encumbrance arises from the incorrect interpretation and application of the legislative norm stipulating the right of the victim to familiarise themselves with the case material.

The second part of the study analyses the victim’s right to protection. This issue is viewed in context with Directive 2011/99/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European protection order. The study concludes that the protective measures indicated in the Directive have existed in Latvia since the Criminal Procedure Law came into force in 2005. A positive element is the possibility to protect a victim in any member state of the EU.

The third part of the study is devoted to the victim’s right to compensation. Compensation for harm inflicted to the victim by the crime is an essential part of the principle of restorative justice. A proposal is put forth to improve the state compensation mechanism.

The study indicates the necessity to give special attention in practice to locating a person’s property. This would allow to better ensure that criminally acquired property is found and compensation for harm to victims is available.

The study refers to a judgement of 8 March 2017 of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Latvia, which pertains to the returning of criminally alienated property to its rightful owner and the rights of the person who had acquired this property in good faith.

The conclusion of the study stresses that the ideal model for protecting the rights of the victim would, of course, be that having found a crime to have been committed, the person contacts the investigative body, testifies as to their knowledge about the offence and submits a claim for compensation, and afterwards they merely have to await the state compensation to be transferred to their bank account, and information to be provided to them about the proceedings. Such a procedure would only be applied if the victim does not wish to actively involve themselves in the criminal proceedings.

Published
2018-11-26