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Victim's rights

Informacija atnaujinta: 2021-02-03 16:22

Natural person who, as a result of a criminal offence, sustains physical, property-related or moral damage, or a family member or a close relative of a natural person who died as a result of a criminal offence who, as a result of the death of this person, sustains physical, property-related or moral damage, shall be recognised as the victim. The person is recognised as such further to the decision by the pre-trial investigation officer or the prosecutor or further to the court ruling.
In accordance with the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania (hereinafter referred to as CCP) and other regulatory enactments the victim has the following rights:

1. To obtain information about procedures related to the submission of the report on criminal offence and the role of the victim during such procedures

Any victim who has sustained damages as a result of a criminal offence has a right to address, either verbally or in a written form, to the pre-trial investigation authority or prosecutor with a request to initiate a pre-trial investigation. Upon the receipt of the victim’s report, application or notification regarding the criminal offence which has been committed a pre-trial investigation officer or the prosecutor shall initiate a pre-trial investigation and shall inform the person who has filed the report, application or notification thereof in written form.
The prosecutor or the pre-trial investigation officer shall refuse to initiate a pre-trial investigation only in case where the data given about the criminal offence are obviously false or where there are clear circumstances defined under Paragraph 1 of Article 3 of CCP due to which criminal proceedings are not possible. When refusing to initiate a pre-trial investigation a prosecutor or a pre-trial investigation officer shall draw up a reasoned decision which shall be forwarded to the person who filed the report, application or notification.
The decision to refuse to initiate a pre-trial investigation taken by a pre-trial investigation officer shall be appealed against to the prosecutor and the decision taken by the prosecutor shall be appealed against to the pre-trial judge.

2. To obtain information about the course of criminal proceedings involving him/her

The person who has addressed a pre-trial investigation authority or a prosecutor with a request to initiate a pre-trial investigation or a victim has a right to address, either verbally or in written form, a pre-trial investigation authority or the prosecutor who conducts, organises or supervises a pre-trial investigation and submit a request to provide the information about the course of proceedings involving him/her. The pre-trial investigation officer, the prosecutor shall ensure that in different stages of criminal proceedings the extent of information submitted to the victim would be determined in consideration of his/her special needs and personal circumstances set in accordance with the procedure prescribed by Article 1861 of CCP as well as to the type and nature of the crime. The victim shall also be entitled to refuse to be provided with information about the course of proceedings involving him/her unless such refusal would infringe the rights of the suspect of the accused person.

3. To submit requests

A victim has a right to submit requests related to pre-trial investigation to a pre-trial investigation officer, prosecutor or pre-trial judge. These requests shall be dealt with within the limits of their competence in accordance with the procedure and within deadlines prescribed by CCP and other regulatory enactments.
A victim may be summonsed to the interview and interviewed as a witness. In cases regarding crimes and misdemeanours against the freedom of a person’s sexual self-determination and inviolability, domestic violence, trafficking in human beings, gaining profit from the prostitution of another person and involvement of another person in prostitution or cases related to gender-based discrimination or hatred, a victim may request for being interviewed by the pre-trial investigation officer of the same sex as the victim himself/herself.
A psychologist shall be summonsed to participate in the interview of a victim who is a child in all cases and assist in interviewing him or her. As far as minor (juvenile) victim is concerned, a psychologist shall be summonsed to participate in his/her interview in cases regarding crimes against a person’s life, health, liberty, freedom of a person’s sexual self-determination and inviolability, crimes against children and family, gaining profit from the prostitution of a minor person or involvement of a minor person in prostitution or in other cases when the parties to the proceedings request so or on the initiative of a pre-trial investigation officer, prosecutor or the pre-trial judge, and, when present, shall assist in interviewing the minor (juvenile) victim (effective since 1 July 2018).

4. To apply for disqualifications

A victim has a right to apply for disqualifications of a pre-trial investigation officer, prosecutor, pre-trial judge, interpreter, expert and specialist in accordance with the grounds and procedure prescribed in CCP.
Disqualifications shall be applied for and reasoned in writing.
Decision regarding the disqualification of interpreter, expert or specialist shall be taken by the pre-trial investigation officer carrying out pre-trial investigation or the prosecutor. Decision regarding the disqualification of pre-trial investigation officer shall be taken by the prosecutor. Decision regarding the disqualification of a prosecutor, defence counsel (lawyer) and assistant of defence counsel (lawyer) shall be taken by the pre-trial judge. Decision regarding the disqualification of a pre-trial judge shall be taken by the president of the district court.

5. To get acquainted with the pre-trial investigation material during the pre-trial investigation and trial

A victim and representative thereof has a right to get acquainted, during any moment of a pre-trial investigation, with pre-trial investigation data, with the exception of personal data of parties to the proceedings which are being stored separately from other pre-trial investigation material, and to make copies and transcripts of pre-trial investigation material during the times when he/she is getting acquainted with it.
A written request to get acquainted with the pre-trial investigation material or to make copies or transcripts at the time of access to pre-trial investigation material shall be submitted to the prosecutor. The prosecutor has a right not to refuse access to all pre-trial investigation data or part thereof, or to refuse to make copies or transcripts of pre-trial investigation material if the prosecutor holds that such access to this information could hinder successful course of pre-trial investigation.
The prosecutor does not have a right not to allow access to all pre-trial investigation data in case where the pre-trial investigation has been finished and the bill of indictment is being drawn up.
While getting acquainted with the pre-trial investigation material it shall be prohibited to make copies of pre-trial investigation material in cases where the data involve: 1) minor suspects and victims; 2) private life of parties to the proceedings; 3) criminal offences against the freedom and inviolability of one’s sexual self-determination; 4) have been recorded in reports of procedural actions and annexes thereto where such information has been obtained by way of using criminal intelligence methods of obtaining information and tools provided for in the Law of the Republic of Lithuania on Criminal Intelligence, or by way of carrying out undercover pre-trial investigation activities or the prosecutor having used the right to get access to information in accordance with the procedure prescribed in CCP; 5) information which constitutes a state, service, professional or commercial secret. In this case transcripts of pre-trial investigation material shall also be forbidden.
In cases where the criminal case has been referred to the court alongside with the bill of indictment, a victim has a right, upon the receipt of the case material at court, to get access to the material obtained additionally (after the drawing up of the bill of indictment) and, within the deadline set by the judge, - to get acquainted with other case material as well, and to make transcript and copies of the case material.

6. To appeal against actions and decisions of a pre-trial investigation officer, prosecutor, pre-trial judge and the court

A victim has a right to appeal against the procedural actions and decisions by the pre-trial investigation officer to the prosecutor organising and supervising pre-trial investigation. In case the prosecutor refuses to grant the requirements set out in such an appeal, such decision may be appealed against to the superior prosecutor in accordance with the procedure prescribed in Article 63 of CCP.
A victim has a right to appeal against the procedural actions and decisions by the prosecutor to the superior prosecutor. In case the superior prosecutor refuses to grant the appeal, such decision may be appealed against to the pre-trial judge.
A victim has a right to appeal against the procedural actions and rulings by the pre-trial judge (with the exception of rulings which are final and beyond appeal) to the court of higher instance in accordance with the procedure prescribed in CCP.

7. To provide evidence

A victim has a right to provide, upon his/her own initiative, objects and documents relevant for investigation and adjudication of the criminal offence to the pre-trial investigation officer, prosecutor or the court or, with a view to relevant grounds prescribed in CCP, submit request to the pre-trial investigation officer or the prosecutor with regard to recovery of such objects and documents.

8. To receive compensation for expenses sustained as a result of his/her participation in criminal proceedings

The victims who are being summonsed to appear before a pre-trial investigation officer, prosecutor or judge and who do not reside at the place to which they are being summonsed, shall receive compensations for their expenses sustained as a result of travelling from their place of residence to the place of summons and back, expenses sustained as a result of renting accommodation for these purposes, and they shall also receive daily allowance. The victim shall receive compensation for his work salary or he/she shall be paid for being distracted from his/her usual occupation in proportion to the amount of time that he/she had spent in order to appear before the pre-trial investigation officer, prosecutor, or judge.
Procedural expenses shall be compensated to the victim from the funds of pre-trial investigation authorities, prosecutor’s office or the court upon submitting relevant request to the authority to which he/she had been summonsed. Relevant documents confirming the expenses sustained must be annexed to such a request. The procedure of compensating these expenses and amounts thereof shall be prescribed by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania or a relevant authority delegated by the Government.

9. To obtain contact details in order to maintain contacts with regard to relevant case

A victim has a right to receive contact details of the pre-trial investigation officer or the prosecutor which he/she can use to get more information about the case. When the pre-trial investigation is being transferred to another pre-trial investigation authority or another prosecutor’s office, the victim must be notified of this.

10. To be provided with translation and interpretation services

The criminal proceedings in the Republic of Lithuania are conducted in the state language i.e. Lithuanian. The victim who does not understand Lithuanian language shall be ensured that he/she can make statements, give evidence and explanations, submit requests and appeals, talk to the court in his mother tongue or in any other language which he/she knows. In all these cases, also while getting acquainted with the case material, the victim has a right to use the services of translator/interpreter in accordance with the procedure prescribed by CCP.
Case documents which shall be served upon the victim in accordance with the cases specified under CCP shall be translated into his mother tongue or into any other language he/she understands. The victim or his/her representative shall be entitled to submit a reasoned request to the pre-trial investigation officer, the prosecutor or the court also with regard to other important case documents they are entitled to get acquainted with in accordance with the procedure prescribed by CCP and thus request that these documents or parts thereof be translated in his/her mother tongue or in any other language which he/she understands. The victim or his/her representative shall be entitled to submit such a request only in cases where the translation of these documents or parts thereof is necessary in order for him/her to take an active part in criminal proceedings.
The person who sustained damage as a result of a criminal offence or his/her representative who does not know Lithuanian language shall be ensured that he/she can submit report or application regarding that criminal offence in his/her mother tongue or in any other language that he/she understands, or such person or his/her representative are provided with the interpretation services while submitting such a report verbally.

11. Right to procedural equality of rights of foreign citizens and citizens of the Republic of Lithuania

The victim who resides in other EU Member State than the one where the criminal offence has been committed has the same rights as the persons residing in the state where the criminal offence has been committed. Such a victim shall be informed about his/her rights while pursuing the procedure of the European Investigation Order or in accordance with the Convention of 29 May 2000 on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters between the Member States of the European Union by way of serving this Annex to the Report on Informing the victim of his/her Rights upon him/her.
In cases where the victim has no possibility to submit his/her appeal in the state where the criminal offence has been committed he/she may address to the competent government authority in the member state of residence. Such appeal shall be referred to, as soon as practically possible, to the competent government authority in the member state where the criminal offence has been committed.

12. Right to receive compensation for damage sustained as a result of the criminal offence

The victim who has sustained property-related or moral damage as a result of criminal offence has a right to receive the compensation of damages sustained as a result of the criminal offence and, in cases prescribed by the law, he/she is entitled to receive compensation from the Fund of Crime Victims in accordance with the procedure prescribed by the Law of the Republic of Lithuania on Compensation of Damages Caused by Violent Crimes.
The victims of terrorism who are residents of a Member State of the European Union other than that where the terrorist offence was committed shall be entitled to have access to information regarding their rights, the available support services and compensation schemes in the Member State where the terrorist offence was committed. Moreover, all victims of terrorism shall have access to the long-term support services on the territory of the Member State of their residence, even if the terrorist offence was committed in another Member State.
The victim has a right to lodge a civil action, in the context of criminal proceedings, against the suspect or the accused or against persons who are materially responsible for the acts committed by the suspect or the accused. The court shall consider this civil action alongside with the criminal case. The civil action shall be lodged by way of filing it before a pre-trial investigation officer, prosecutor or the court at any stage of the proceedings, however, not later than until the beginning of examination of evidence at a court of law.

13. To be granted protection, be present while his/her special protection needs are being assessed and to receive special protection measures

The officer carrying out pre-trial investigation measures or the prosecutor shall carry out a relevant assessment (not later than during the first interview of the victim) and shall determine special protection needs of the victim which shall be applied in order to reduce the impact of criminal proceedings or any other traumatizing impact upon him/her.
The procedure for carrying out such assessment has been prescribed in the Recommendations on Assessment of Special Protection Needs of victims as approved by the Order of the Prosecutor General.
A victim has a right to request that a prosecutor or pre-trial investigation officer applied anonymity or partial anonymity with regard to him/her. This procedural protection measure may be applied in cases where: 1) there is a real threat to the life, health, freedom or property of the victim, witness or their family members or close relatives, or to service, business or any other legitimate interests thereof; 2) evidence given by the victim or witness are important for the criminal proceedings; 3) victim or witness are participating in the proceedings involving particularly serious (grave), serious or average crime. Partial anonymity may be applied in other cases as well, where there is information that the disclosure of certain data of the victim may cause negative consequences to the rights and legitimate interests of the victim, his/her family members or close relatives and in order to ensure proper protection of these rights and interests only a part of data regarding the victim must be kept confidential.
The victim may be subject to relevant measure of protection from criminal influence as prescribed by CCP and the Law on Protection from Criminal Influence of Participants of Criminal Proceedings and Criminal Intelligence, Officers of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration Authorities within the prosecutor’s office in cases where pre-trial investigation is conducted criminal cases tried in courts with regard to grave or serious crimes or medium crimes provided for in the aforementioned Law, or where, upon completion of criminal proceedings, there were certain verified data obtained from public or confidential sources that there is a real threat to the life or health of people or there is a risk that their property may be destroyed or damaged. The measures of protection from criminal influence shall applied with regard to the victim in cases where he is actively cooperating with the officers of law enforcement and justice administration authorities, assisted in disclosing the criminal offence or provided any other valuable information to them.

14. To have legal representative

A victim may have his/her legal representative. An authorised representative is a person who provides legal assistance to certain parties to the proceedings (victim, witness, etc.) and defends their rights and lawful interests. A lawyer or, under the assignment of a lawyer, an assistant lawyer may be an authorised representative and, upon the consent of a pre-trial investigation officer, prosecutor or the court, any other person with higher education in the field of law who has been authorised by the party to the proceedings to represent his/her interests may also be recognised as such a representative. Legal representatives may include: parents, adoptive parents, guardians, foster parents of a minor or incapacitated victim or the persons authorised by institutions taking care of the suspect, the accused, the convicted person or the victim. Legal representatives of a victim shall be entitled to participate in the proceedings and to defend the interests of the parties to the proceedings represented by them in cases were such persons are of a minor age or have been recognised legally incapacitated, with the exception of cases where this would contradict the interests of a minor or legally incapacitated person. A representative may participate in the proceedings together with the person he/she is representing. The person whom he/she represents may, at any moment, waive the right to use the services of a representative or choose another representative.

15. To receive legal aid

The right of a victim to receive primary and secondary legal aid has been stipulated in the Law of the Republic of Lithuania on State-Guaranteed Legal Aid which provides for relevant terms and conditions for receiving legal aid as well as procedure thereof. All citizens of the Republic of Lithuania, citizens of other Member States of the European Union as well as other natural persons residing lawfully in the Republic of Lithuania and other Member States of the European Union shall be eligible for primary legal aid consisting of a one-hour free of charge legal advice. The persons wishing to receive primary legal aid shall have the right to apply to the executive institution of a municipality according to the declared place of residence or, where a person has no place of residence, to the executive institution of a municipality where the person is resident. The victims in the cases concerning compensation for the damage incurred through criminal actions, including the cases when the issue of compensation for damage is heard as part of a criminal case, shall be eligible for secondary legal aid in accordance with the Law of the Republic of Lithuania on State-Guaranteed Legal Aid.

16. To have a person accompanying him/her

A victim may be accompanied during criminal proceedings by any person he/she chooses to. This person is obliged to comply with the prescribed procedure during pre-trial investigation and trial at court. The participation of the person accompanying the victim in criminal proceedings or separate parts thereof may be restricted by the decision of the pre-trial investigation officer or the prosecutor or further to the ruling of a pre-trial judge or the court where the participation of such person is contrary to the interests of the victim or obstructs the investigation or trial of the case.

17. To appeal against the court judgement and court ruling

A victim has a right to appeal, in accordance with appellate procedure, against the judgment of the first instance court which has not yet entered into force as well as to appeal, in accordance with the final appeal (cassation) procedure, judgements or rulings (not yet legally effective) issued in the courts of first instance and appellate courts.

18. To deliver the final speech

A victim has a right to deliver his/her final speech when the case is being tried in the court of first instance. The court starts listening to final speeches when the examination of evidence obtained in the context of the case is over.

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