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Victims' rights - by country

Can I appeal against the ruling?

Victims participating in criminal proceedings as an injured party may appeal the ruling.

Authorised persons may appeal against a first-instance ruling within 15 days of the date of service of a copy of the ruling.

An appeal may be lodged by either litigant, the defence attorney or the injured party.

The injured party may appeal against the ruling on the grounds of the court’s decision regarding the costs of the criminal proceedings or the claim for damages. However, if the state attorney has taken over prosecution from the injured party acting as private prosecutor, the latter may appeal on any grounds on which a ruling may be challenged.

What are my rights after sentencing?

Victims participating in criminal proceedings as an injured party may lodge an appeal and seek restoration of the previous situation.

Am I entitled to support or protection after the trial? For how long?

Victims and witnesses can turn to specialised departments of county courts for information and support at any point during criminal (or misdemeanour) proceedings, but before the ruling has been issued.

If victims or witnesses turn to these victim and witness support departments after the ruling has been issued, the departments will provide them with information consistent with their remit, and refer them to other organisations and services specialising in victims’ or witnesses’ needs.

The Independent support service for victims and witnesses of the Ministry of Justice provides victims, injured parties or their families with information on the offender’s release from prison (automatic or conditional release). This information is provided to all victims of, and injured parties following, serious offences, such as crimes against life and limb, sexual crimes, violent crimes or war crimes.

In exceptional cases, when the Independent service finds that a victim of prolonged domestic violence or violence against women requires coordinated additional support, it informs the coordinator of the County team for preventing and combating domestic violence and violence against women of the interview conducted with the victim and the problems he/she faces, and asks that the County Team take appropriate action. Where appropriate, this information is also forwarded to the competent police department and the competent social welfare centre, if the victim (child/person) is deprived of legal capacity, or to the competent probation office, if the offender has been released conditionally and is required to report regularly to the probation office.

In exceptional cases, when the Independent service concludes on the basis of information gathered from the victim (of a crime other than those mentioned above) that the victim requires urgent additional support and protection, it may request action from the competent police department subject to the victim’s consent.

Victim support is also provided by civil society organisations, immediately after the offence is committed, during the criminal proceedings, and after the trial, i.e. or after a final ruling has been issued. Support and assistance provided by civil society organisations depends on their remit.

What information will I be given if the offender is sentenced?

A written ruling with instructions on legal remedies is served on the plaintiff, the defendant and his/her defence attorney, the injured party (if the latter has the right to appeal), the party whose property has been confiscated by the ruling and the legal entity from which the proceeds are to be confiscated.

An injured party who does not have the right of appeal will be served the ruling as provided for by law, together with a note on his/her right to seek restoration of the previous situation. The final ruling is served on the injured party on request.

Will I be told if the offender is released (including early or conditional release) or escapes from prison?

Under the Criminal Procedure Act, the victim has the right to be informed by the police, without delay, of the end of detention or remand for the offender, except where such disclosure might put the offender at risk. The victim is also informed of the measures taken to protect him/her, where such measures have been ordered.

Penitentiaries and prisons do not inform the Independent support service for victims and witnesses of escaped prisoners, but send a notification of the offender’s escape to police only; however, the law is soon to be amended.

Victims have the right to be informed, on request, of the offender’s release from detention or remand and his/her escape or release from prison, and of the measures taken in the interest of the victim’s safety.

Victims of serious crimes, i.e. crimes against life and limb, sexual crimes, violent crimes and war crimes, are informed of the offender’s automatic or conditional release.

Will I be involved in release or parole decisions? For example, can I make a statement or lodge an appeal?

Any statement made by the victim of a violent crime and other relevant information pertaining to the victim are taken into account when a decision is considered to potentially allow the offender the benefit of spending weekends outside a penitentiary or prison. The victim’s statement forms part of the conditional release file. However, the regulations currently in force do not provide for the victim to be involved in a conditional release decision and/or appeal against that decision.

Last update: 04/07/2018

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