Right to information

The right to information is very important, because only well-informed victims can fully participate in legal proceedings and exercise their rights. Furthermore, you should take note to the rights that you possess even when deciding not to report the crime suffered to the police.

Information to you should be given in a simple and accessible form. In case you do not understand some information provided, do not hesitate to ask the state official providing it. State officials taking part in criminal procedure are obliged by laws not only to provide information but also to explain it.

Victim support services have an important function as a source of information. They can help you by providing information about your rights, how to exercise them and how to obtain information about the case.

Information about rights

From the first moment of contact with any authority, whether it is the Public Prosecution Service or the police, or any other institution of pre-trial investigation, the following rights shall be explained to you:

  • the right obtain information about procedures related to the submission of the report on criminal offense and the role of the injured party (victim) during the procedures;
  • the right to obtain information about the course of criminal proceedings involving you;
  • the right to submit requests;
  • the rights to apply for disqualifications;
  • the right to get acquainted with the pre-trial investigation material during the pre-trial investigation and trial;
  • the right to appeal against actions and decisions of a pre-trial investigation officer, prosecutor, pre-trial judge and the court;
  • the right to provide evidence;
  • the right to receive compensation for expenses sustained as a result of participation in criminal proceedings;
  • the right to be provided with translation and interpretation services;
  • the right to procedural equality of rights of foreign citizens and citizens of the Republic of Lithuania;
  • the right to receive compensation for damage sustained as a result of the criminal offence;
  • the right to be granted protection, to be present while your special protection needs are being assessed and to receive special protection measures;
  • the right to have a legal representative;
  • the right to receive legal aid;
  • the right to have a person accompanying you during the criminal proceedings;
  • the right to appeal against every court judgment and every court ruling.

Information about the case

The injured party (victim) is entitled, upon request, to be informed about the course of criminal proceedings he or she is involved in. However, state officials do not have a duty to inform injured parties (victims) about every step taken in the proceedings automatically. They are only obliged by laws to provide information on the progress of the case when an injured party (victim) requests for such information either verbally or in a written form.

However, the laws require that injured parties (victims) shall be informed about certain steps taken in the procedure. For example, if you take part in a pre-trial investigation as an injured party, you will be informed:

  • when pre-trial investigation officer takes a decision to start or declines to start the pre-trial investigation on the crime you have reported. In case a decision not to start the pre-trial investigation is taken, you have a right to access all the data that the decision was based upon;
  • when a decision to carry out an expert examination is taken you will be proposed to submit questions that the expert examination shall answer. The results of expert examinations shall also be notified to you;
  • when a prosecutor or a judge of pre-trial investigation decide to terminate pre-trial investigation. You shall also be notified when a judge of pre-trial investigation declines a prosecutor’s application for termination of pre-trial investigation;
  • when a prosecutor or a judge of pre-trial investigation takes a decision to renew a previously terminated pre-trial investigation;
  • when prosecutor decides that pre-trial investigation is to be completed and the case should be forwarded to court for trial.

The laws specifically request pre-trial officers to notify injured parties (victims) when the suspects are detained and to find out whether the injured party (victim) is willing to be informed when the suspect is released or escapes. However, the aforementioned notification is not obligatory in cases when it could jeopardize interests of the detained person.

What concerns information to be provided to you during the trial, the laws are less specific, because it is supposed that you will take part in all the court hearings yourself. Please note that even in cases when you could not be present at the hearing and it has processed without you, you have got a right to access the record of the hearing and to have its audio recording (laws require every hearing to be audio recorded).

Injured parties (victims) are also entitled to request access to the case file at any moment of the procedure, except when the prosecutor opposes the viewing of the whole case file or of a part of it on the grounds that it could jeopardize the pre-trial investigation. However, after the prosecutor closes pre-trial investigation and forwards the case to the court for trial, your access to the whole file of the case cannot be restricted any more.

I was a victim of crime: consequences and reactions The rights of victims of crime Criminal proceedings Who’s who in criminal proceedings


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