If you have suffered from a crime in the Czech Republic you can report it to the police or prosecution. The website with the contact addresses of the prosecution office is: http://portal.justice.cz/justice2/uvod/StatniZast.aspx.
The report can be done by anyone who has information that a crime was committed. Your representative (e.g. parent, guardian or attorney) can submit the report on behalf of you.
You can report a crime orally, in written form, by fax, or by e-mail with attached certified signature according to the law on electronically certified signature. The authorities are obliged to write minutes of the oral reports. The minutes need to be signed by you or by the third person who reports the crime.
There is no deadline for reporting a crime. However a crime cannot be prosecuted and a sanction cannot be sentenced after a certain period of time.
If you do not speak the Czech language, you have the right to speak your maternal language or other language that you understand. In such a case, an interpreter free of charge would be involved in the proceedings. Therefore, the report can be submitted in other languages than Czech and the police or prosecution will take care of its translation into the Czech language. If some information from the report needs to be recorded very precisely, that part of the allegation will be recorded in the foreign language as well.
No special form for the report is required. However, it needs to include: your identification or the identification of the person who submits it, the identification of the institution to which it is addressed, the subject matter of the report, the expected outcome of it, date, and signature. The police and prosecution have the obligation to process the report, even if the report is not signed, is anonymous, or other essentials are missing.
After reporting a crime you may request and receive the reference number. The police are not legally obliged to give the reference number of the case unless it is requested.
If you wish to be informed by the police about the action they will be taking you need to make that request in advance. In that case they will give you that information within one month of the report being submitted. If you have not submitted such a request, you will be informed about developments in the case only when you ask.
At any stage of the criminal proceedings you can examine the file by yourself. You have access to the file of the criminal proceedings except the report that contains data on the identity of a protected witness or an undercover agent. You have the right to make excerpts and notes from it, and to have duplicates of the files and the parts thereof made at your own expense. This right covers the whole file. Your representative has the same rights as you.
You can be heard by the police or prosecution, make any additional statements, and give any additional evidence in parallel with submitting the report and before any charges are brought against the offender. After receiving your report the police and prosecution can require additional explanations of you. The extent of the interview or examination depends mainly on whether you witnessed the crime. If you do not have the role of a witness, the examination may concern the facts about the injuries caused to you.
You have the right to participate in the criminal proceedings. As a victim of crime you become a party to the criminal proceedings according to the law. If you, however, do not want to participate, you will not be forced to do so.
If you are participating in the proceedings, you are entitled also:
You do not have to prove any aspects of the crime.
You can be represented during the investigation by any natural person, attorney or victim support organisation authorised by you. If you have restricted legal capacity because of age or illness, your parent or guardian can represent you. The guardian is appointed by the court. If the conditions for free legal aid are fulfilled the court appoints an attorney to represent you. You need to submit a request for this to the prosecutor.
Some criminal offences (minor offences and offences which constitute the threat of spreading venereal disease, larceny or fraud) cannot be prosecuted without your consent. In these cases, where you have a close relationship with the offender, you have the right to give consent for the commencement of the prosecution. You have the right to withdraw your consent until the final deliberation at the appeal court. When your consent has not been granted or has been withdrawn, there can be no criminal prosecution. However, you can seek to terminate the proceedings only if they have started with your consent.
As a victim of the crime, you need to participate as a witness in the criminal proceedings. You are allowed, however, to refuse to testify if you are a relative of the charged person in the direct line of descent or are a sibling, adoptive parent, adoptee, spouse or common-law spouse. You have the same right if the testimony could bring danger to you or to the persons mentioned above or to other persons to whom you are related by family or similar ties and whose harm you would justly perceive as your own.
If you have the role of a witness, the expenses related to your testimony are reimbursed by the State budget. The reimbursement includes expenses for travelling, accommodation, and expenses incurred in accompanying a handicapped person. You need to claim the costs within three days of examination or after receiving a notice that the examination is cancelled. If at this stage you have been granted legal aid, the costs of the attorney are reimbursed by the State budget.
If you are a minor your parent or guardian can report the crime to the police instead of you and represent you during criminal proceedings.
If you are under 15 years of age and you are interviewed as a witness to a crime, your examination shall be conducted with utmost consideration, with the participation of an education specialist or of a person with expertise in juvenile education. Every effort will be made to complete the interview in a single session.
If you are younger than 18 years your personal data should not be disclosed.
If you were the reporter of the crime and if you asked to receive such information, you will receive information about developments in the case within 30 days of submitting the report of the crime.
You are entitled to receive information about your own rights at the first contact with the police. Otherwise, it is your right to examine the file at any stage of the criminal proceedings.
The police, prosecution, and the court should inform you about your rights (including the compensation opportunities) and should assist you in applying your rights in criminal proceedings.
There is a special legal obligation on the police or prosecution to inform you about the escape or release on bail of the accused, if you asked to receive such information and there is risk of danger for you.
Legal aid free of charge is not available to you during the investigation of the crime.
If you claim for damages and do not have sufficient resources to cover the expenses, you can apply for free legal aid, which would be provided by a lawyer and paid by the State if it is necessary for the protection of your interests. It is recommended that you give a concrete description of your situation, e.g. monthly income, monthly expenses, and description of your property in general.
If you as witness are in danger, you can benefit from the right to protect your identity. In this case your personal data cannot be disclosed to the public. According to the prescribed conditions in law (especially for cases of terrorism and organised crime) you can apply at the police or prosecution for special measures of the Physical Security Programme, as well as to participate in the Programme for Witness Protection, managed by the Ministry of Interior. The special measures include address change, identity change, physical security, etc.
If your relatives who have the status of witnesses in criminal proceedings are in danger, they can benefit from the same rights.
If you are a victim of trafficking in persons (TIP victims) you can get anonymous accommodation. Therapy and health care can be provided to you according to the “Support and Protection Programme of the TIP Victims” managed by the Ministry of Interior.
You can be given assistance by the non-governmental organisations active in the respective field. Generally, NGOs provide to you services free of charge in the following areas:
You can receive medical or psychological assistance but you may be asked to pay for it unless you have a valid health insurance. Citizens of the 27 EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland can benefit from the European Health Insurance Card.
Conciliation can be applied in cases of less serious criminal offences. The main conditions are: the offender pleads guilty, the offender reimburses for the damage done, and the offender donates a certain amount to charity.
The investigation ends after the police and the prosecution establish the facts of the case and procure the evidence to allow them to come to a decision about criminal proceedings.
After the end of the investigation the prosecution may take a decision to close the case or to submit to the court either an indictment or an agreed proposal about guilt and sentence.
You, as a party to the proceedings, can submit an appeal against a decision closing your case without bringing it to the court within three days of the announcement. You need to submit an appeal to the prosecutor who took this decision. You may seek, with relevant reasoning, a continuation of the proceedings. If the result of the appeal is negative you can submit a new request to the superior prosecution, which should deal with it in the framework of prosecution supervision.
You cannot undertake a private prosecution. Prosecution is provided only by public bodies upon their initiative.
If you are a foreigner and you have suffered from a crime in the Czech Republic you have all the rights explained above. In addition, when you report a crime but you do not speak Czech, you can use your mother tongue or other language that you understand. Therefore the interview can be held in other languages than Czech and the police or prosecution are obliged to provide the translation of the interview. Your written statements will be translated into the Czech language as well. If it is important to record anything verbatim, this will also be recorded in the foreign language.
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