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Victims' rights - by country

Σλοβακία

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Σλοβακία

How can I be involved in the trial?

What are my rights as a witness?

I am a minor. Do I have additional rights?

Can I receive legal aid?

How can I get protection, if I am in danger?

How can I claim damages from the offender or receive compensation from the State?

Are there opportunities to reach settlement/conciliation or to start mediation between the offender and myself?

I am a foreigner. How are my rights and interests protected?

More information

How can I be involved in the trial?

The trial starts after the prosecutor submits to the court the indictment or the proposal for agreement on the guilt and sentence of the offender. The defence and the prosecution may have reached this agreement with or without your participation and it has to be approved by court. You will be informed in writing about either of the two. The indictment will be accompanied by a written call to propose additional evidence. You will also be informed in writing about the date of the court hearing.

As a victim, you have your own specific capacity in the trial, and you have the legal right to join it at any time. You only have until the completion of the investigation to submit your claim for compensation for damages that you have sustained, otherwise you will be able to claim solely before the civil court.

During the trial, you have the following specific rights:

  • to be present throughout the trial at the first instance, even if it is non-public, and also during the public hearing of the appeal court; you are only obliged to be present if you are also a witness – if you are not present, the court will decide on compensating the damage you have sustained in accordance with your written statements;
  • to be represented by any natural person, a lawyer or a victim support organisation;
  • to have an interpreter free of charge, if you do not speak the Slovak language; you do not have a specific right to written translation of case documents;
  • to ask questions to the defendant and the witnesses or experts;
  • to express opinions about the evidence presented and propose new evidence until the main court hearing at the latest;
  • to have access to the case file, except the parts that contain data on the identity of protected witnesses, undercover agents or on how the court panel voted on certain issues; make excerpts and notes from the file, as well as copies at your own expense;
  • to have all your costs incurred during the proceedings reimbursed by the defendant, if he/she is convicted and if the court considers them necessary for the enforcement of your rights;
  • to give a final speech at the end of the trial.

What are my rights as a witness?

As a witness to the crime you have suffered from, you can ask to give testimony without the presence of the defendant, his/her lawyer and the public. It is also possible for your testimony during the investigation to be read in court, instead of you being interviewed, if the prosecution and the defence agree and the court does not consider your examination necessary.

You are entitled not to have your privacy unjustifiably invaded by questions.

You have the right to have your expenses as witness – travel expenses, accommodation, etc. - and lost earnings (witness allowance) reimbursed from the state budget. You have to claim them within 3 days of your examination.

I am a minor. Do I have additional rights?

If you are a minor, your parent or guardian may represent you throughout the trial.

If you are under 15 years of age, you will be interviewed with utmost consideration and your interview will not be repeated, if possible. An education specialist may be present. If necessary, technical equipment for the transmission of sound and images will be used. Your personal data will not be disclosed.

Can I receive legal aid?

If you claim for compensation for the injuries caused by the offender, you do not have sufficient resources to cover the expenses for a lawyer and this is necessary for the protection of your interests, you can apply for legal aid. It is provided by a lawyer and paid by the state.

If you are a victim of discrimination, you will be provided legal aid free of charge regardless of your income.

How can I get protection, if I am in danger?

As a witness to the crime you suffered from, you can benefit from measures to protect your security and identity, including testifying in the absence of the defendant. They are imposed by the presiding judge if:

  • there is a danger that you might not testify accurately in the presence of the accused;
  • there is a risk of you getting a serious injury in relation to your testimony;
  • your identity must not be disclosed for serious reasons.

If disclosing your address as a witness will endanger you or your relatives, you may provide your work address or another address, where authorities can officially communicate with you.

You may also be allowed not to provide any other personal data (identity, place of residence, etc.), if that would endanger your or your relatives’ life or health. In any case, your personal data as a victim will never be disclosed to the public.

You may be interviewed, using technical equipment, recording the interview or transmitting sound and image. During such an interview, your voice and appearance can be changed. In exceptional cases, you may benefit from change of identity.

If you are a victim of a terrorist act or a crime, committed by an organised criminal group, and you are in danger as a witness, you may participate in a witness protection programme, including measures of physical security.

If you are a victim of human trafficking, you may benefit from anonymous accommodation.

How can I claim damages from the offender or receive compensation from the State?

Your claim against the offender for the damage you have suffered from the crime, with the necessary reasoning and calculations, has to be submitted before the end of the investigation. It may concern damage to your health or property, or psychological or other damage. The criminal court will rule on your claim.

You may also be entitled to receive compensation from the State. Please consult the factsheet on compensation to victims of crime in Slovakia (available in English, Slovak and other languages) of the European Judicial Network.

Are there opportunities to reach settlement/conciliation or to start mediation between the offender and myself?

Mediation between the defendant and yourself can be applied during trial. For less serious crimes with a maximum sentence of five years of imprisonment, that can lead to reconciliation. If such a proposal is submitted after the prosecution submits the indictment, the court can start reconciliation proceedings, approve reconciliation and subsequently drop the criminal proceedings.

You can also, for any crime, participate in reaching an agreement about the guilt of the defendant and the sentence he/she should get. If the court finds out before the trial that the prosecution and defence are willing to negotiate on such agreement, the case is passed back to the prosecution.

I am a foreigner. How are my rights and interests protected?

If you are a foreigner, you have the following specific rights:

  • if you do not speak the Slovak language, you have the right to an interpreter free of charge;
  • if you reside abroad, you can be interviewed as a witness using technical devices transmitting sound and images.

More information:

  • Code of Criminal Procedure (Trestný poriadok) – in English and Slovak
  • Criminal Code (Trestný zákon) – in English and Slovak
  • Compensation Act (Zákon o odškodňovaní osôb poškodených násilnými trestnými činmi) – in Slovak
Last update: 18/03/2019

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