Victims of a criminal offence may report an offence (file a complaint):
Although anyone may report an offence, if victims intend to take part in the proceedings as a civil party, they must file a complaint either personally or through their lawyer.
Victims can also bring a private prosecution against the perpetrator before the police court or a criminal chamber of the district court.
The complaint must be lodged in one of the official languages of Luxembourg, namely Luxembourgish, French or German. Victims who do not speak any of these three languages are entitled to an interpreter free of charge. The complaint must be made preferably in writing, without having to respect a particular form, and must indicate:
The period during which the victim must lodge a complaint depends, in particular, on the limitation period of the offence. The period varies between one and ten years.
Victims haves the right:
When the complaint is filed with the Public Prosecutor, within 18 months of receiving the complaint or accusation, the Public Prosecutor will inform the victim of any action taken by way of follow-up including, where appropriate, closure of the case and the underlying reason.
To ensure access to justice in the event that victims do not have sufficient resources, particularly in relation to the guaranteed minimum income, they have the right to receive full legal support free of charge for the defence of their interests. This aid is provided by the Council of the Bar Association, if victims asks for it and if they are:
To determine financial resources, total gross income and wealth are taken into account, as well as the incomes of people living in the same household. In addition to the case of limited resources, victims can also receive legal aid if serious reasons related to their social, family or material situation justify eligibility.
An application for legal aid must be made using a questionnaire available from the Central Social Assistance Service (http://www.guichet.public.lu/citoyens/fr/organismes/service-central-assistance-sociale/index.html) signed by the victim and sent to the territorially competent Chairman of the Bar Association (Diekirch or Luxembourg).
The questionnaire to be completed will include in particular:
Victims may also indicate the name of the lawyer(s) that they wish to be assigned under the legal aid scheme, or where applicable, indicate the name of the lawyer currently assigned to them.
Documents to be attached to the application by victims:
After the insufficiency of resources has been checked, the granting or refusal of legal aid will be notified by the Chair of the Bar Council or the member delegated by the Chair for the purpose, by ordinary post if it has been granted and by registered letter if it has been refused. The Chair appoints the lawyer that the victim has freely chosen or, if no choice has been made or the Chair considers the choice inappropriate, a designated lawyer.
Notaries and bailiffs are appointed ex officio by the court dealing with the case within the legal aid framework.
If legal aid is granted during the proceedings, the costs incurred by the victim will be reimbursed.
If the victim receives legal aid and is ordered to pay costs, these will be borne by the State.
In criminal cases, legal aid does not cover the costs and fines imposed on persons who are convicted.
If a case is closed before going to court, the notice specifies the conditions under which victims may initiate proceedings by bringing a private prosecution or a civil party claim.
If the penalties for the crimes are criminal penalties or correctional penalties, the notice includes the information that victims may apply to the State General Prosecutor, who has the right to instruct the state prosecutor to prosecute.
If the judicial council (Chambre du conseil) decides not to refer the criminal case to a court that would decide on the guilt of the alleged perpetrator, victims can appeal to the judicial council of the Court of Appeal. They therefore have the right to submit requests and comments to this council.
If the judicial council decides not to pursue the case for reasons of fact and not of law, victims may still apply to a civil court to obtain compensation for damage.
Just as during the enquiry/investigation, victims can take part in the proceedings without having any special status or as a civil party.
Victims may attend both public and non-public hearings, but only if they are summoned as witnesses. They may also be called as witnesses to the oral pleadings. To this end, they receive a written summons from the Public Prosecutor and must answer both the questions of the Court and the questions put by the lawyer for the opposing party. During the trial, victims sit at the back of the court room to prevent them from being in direct contact with the accused.
Civil parties receive a written summons to the oral pleadings. They also have the right to attend public and non-public hearings, and must be present to submit their applications. In principle, they intervene after the hearing of the witnesses. In addition, they may have the case argued on all matters relating to their civil interests and may give testimony on the facts.
Your official role in the judicial system is that of victim without a special status. Victims have the right to join the proceedings as civil parties.
Victims have in particular the right:
Civil parties also have the right:
Witnesses may attend hearings and reveal to the judge on oath everything they know about the facts. Witnesses must answer both the questions of the Court and the questions put by the lawyer for the opposing party.
Civil parties may have the case argued on all matters relating to their civil interests and may give testimony on the facts; a lawyer for a civil party may question experts as well as witnesses for the defence.
In principle, all evidence is admitted provided that it is recognised by reason and from experience that this can lead the judge to a conviction. Evidence can be presented provided that the parties were able to exchange views and arguments on it.
The following information will be communicated to Victim:
When a complaint is lodged with the police, complainants receive a copy of the complaint free of charge, either immediately or within one month of lodging the complaint. Complainants may also ask the court dealing with their cases for specific procedural steps.
If complainants have joined the proceedings as civil parties, they have the right to have access to the case file, in the investigating judge's office, after the first questioning of the accused and the day before each inquiry for which legal assistance is necessary;
When the proceedings are complete, the investigating judge communicates the case file to the Public Prosecutor. As a civil party, you have the right to consult the file, at least eight working days before the case is examined by the judicial council.
Civil parties, and persons who can demonstrate a legitimate personal interest, have the right to receive a copy of the case file, except for any papers and documents seized, within a reasonable period before the appointed date of the hearing. To this end, they must make a request to the Public Prosecutor.
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