Right to protection

Victims and their family members are entitled to protection from retaliatory or intimidatory acts or continued crimes against them. They are entitled to feel safe when giving evidence and testifying.

First, please note that every attempt made either by the culprit or any other person to make you give false evidence in the procedure is a crime. It does not matter whether they have used coercion, or threats, or deception, or any other methods in this regard. Thus in cases when you face improper behavior of others in this sense you should not hesitate and report it as a new crime to the police or other law enforcement authorities. Please also note that influence exerted upon the injured parties (victims) or witnesses by the defendant would count as a legal basis to apply restrictive measures, including detention, to him or her.

Second, pre-trial investigation officers and prosecutors shall take an initiative themselves to establish whether you face a risk of retaliatory or any other violence. For this aim they will have to assess special protection needs of yours in the very beginning of the pre-trial investigation. Thus, the first questioning of yours will start from some questions seemingly not related to the case itself, that will address your living circumstances and other similar aspects of your personal life. Please note that pre-trial officials are obliged to give these questions to you in order to identify and to prevent all risks to your safety.

Restrictive measures

The protection and safety of victims may be safeguarded by imposing one or more restrictive measures against the defendant.

There are a variety of restrictive measures, including intensive supervision (electronic monitoring), house arrest, bail, obligation to avoid any contact with the injured party, etc. The harshest restrictive measure is detention of the defendant. Detention may last up to 9 months during the pre-trial investigation, however in cases of the most serious crimes the term can be extended up to 18 months. The length of detention during trial can be even longer, however the whole time that the defendant spends in detention cannot be longer than two thirds of the maximum penalty provided for the crimes charged.

Detention can only be imposed by courts. During the pre-trial investigation a court can only impose detention if the prosecutor leading the case applies for it. That means that you as an injured party are not entitled to request detention of the culprit, neither during the pre-trial investigation, nor during the trial. However there is a general rule that injured parties (victims) can apply to pre-trial investigation officers, prosecutors, and judges with every petition they wish to. Thus you could apply to the prosecutor (during pre-trial investigation) or the judge (during the trial) in this regard also, and if the prosecutor or the judge declines your petition, you can appeal this decision respectively either to the superior prosecutor and the court, or to a higher court.

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 notification is not obligatory in cases when it could jeopardize interests of the detained person.

Special protection needs and measures

There are quite many special procedural measures that could be used to provide protection to injured parties (victims) during the criminal procedure. These measures are applied based on assessment of special protection needs of injured parties (victims). The assessments are to be performed in every criminal case. Of course this does not mean that special protection measures are to be applied to every injured party. The laws establish some formal criteria that serve as a basis for pre-trial investigation officers and prosecutors to apply special protection measures. There are no special norms that entitle injured parties to request special protection measures to be applied. However the general norms empowering you to submit petitions and to appeal decisions on every aspect of the case you wish are relevant in this regard also.

The laws however do entitle some injured parties to request their full or partial anonymity in specific cases (this measure is not listed among special protection measures to be considered by pre-trial investigation officers and prosecutors in every case).

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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