Victims’ Right to Speak in Court Cases Expanded
THE HAGUE, 08/10/13 - The right to speak of victims in court cases is to be expanded. They will in future be able to give their views on the guilt of the suspect, the evidence and what sentence should be impose, under a proposed bill that Justice State Secretary Fred Teeven has sent to a number of bodies for their advice.
Currently, victims only have the ‘right to speak’: They can only tell the judge what the offence has meant to them personally. With the new ‘advisory right’, they can if they want also have their say on decisions that the judge has to take. Relatives and other parties involved can also receive the advisory right.
With the right to speak, victims can speak without interruption, but with the advisory right, this is different. If the victim makes a statement that is taxing for the suspect, the latter is allowed to cast doubts on this and question the victim about it via his lawyer. The victim will then be sworn in as a witness.
Victims will in future also be able to indicate whether the public prosecutor should try to have the suspect be present at the session. Teeven does not however see compulsory appearances as feasible as this would cause too much extra work, in his view.