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Right to protection
 

Request a notification in case the accused is released from custody or they escapes from it, or if the convict will be released from the execution of the punishment or they escape from it (Section 44a Criminal Procedure Code)

This right can be asserted by a written application or oral submission into the report:

  • during preliminary criminal proceedings – with the investigating officer or public prosecutor,
  • after trial has been ordered – with the respective court involved in the case,
  • after sentence to an unconditional imprisonment – with the first instance court who took decision.

Concealment of witness’s identity (Section 55 paragraph 2 of the Criminal Procedure Code)
This right is based on a separate maintenance of witness’s personal details away from the file, which the injured party and their legal representative are allowed to view. In addition, this is combined with further measures at the trial with the aim to conceal identity of a witness (e.g. examination using a telephonic connection using a voice modulation etc.)
Application of this option is conditional upon a real threat or risk involved in the testimony of the injured party or witness in criminal proceedings.
This right can be claimed by oral application raised before the testimony of the injured party or witness has started to be recorded, or by an oral submission on file before the police authority has opened their first stage of action.
The above procedure cannot be enforced by a legal claim. In case the conditions are met, the application will be reviewed by a police officer who represents the police authority.  The injured party can ask the public prosecutor to review the conclusions of the police authority. If the injured party lays claim for the concealment of their identity but the police authority fails to satisfy such request, the police authority is obligated to submit the application to the public prosecutor to make a decision (Section 101a of the Criminal Procedure Code).

To request a separated waiting room for the injured parties and witnesses for the prosecution (Section 200 of the Criminal Procedure Code)
Some court buildings are equipped with “separate waiting rooms” for the injured parties, or witnesses. The purpose of these waiting rooms is to enable the injured parties and witnesses not to be placed in the proximity of other persons (e.g. other witnesses for the defence) during the time they are waiting in front of the courtroom to be called to the court proceedings. If court building is not equipped with such waiting rooms, the judge has the option in justified cases to e.g. enable that the injured party or witness wait in the area of court offices (e.g. register office) until the time they are called to appear before court.

This right can be claimed by a written application:

  • before trial has been ordered – with the public prosecutor,
  • after the trial has been ordered – with the chairing judge, who will conduct the hearing in the case (this can be determined at the register office by court file reference number, possibly also with the public prosecutor).

The utilization of a separate waiting room or other areas cannot be enforced by a legal claim by the injured party or witnesses. It always depends on the judge’s decision whether this option will be used, therefore the application should include the reason which leads to its submission.

To request exclusion of the public during witness testimony (Section 200 of the Criminal Procedure Code)
This right can be asserted especially in case of threat to the safety or other important  interest of the witnesses, however the witness themselves cannot enforce this procedure by a legal claim, which means the decision whether exclusion of the public will be allowed lies with the court. It is therefore helpful to describe specific reasons for which such procedure is requested.
The right to exclude public from participating in the trial itself belongs to the court.
This right can therefore be claimed by a written application prior to the opening of trial with the judge presiding over the criminal proceedings, who will be involved in the case (this can be found on notice from court or checked by court file reference number at the register office).

To request exclusion of the public during witness testimony (Section 200 of the Criminal Procedure Code)
The right to exclude public from participating in the trial belongs also to the court This entitlement can be asserted especially in case of threat to the safety or other important  interest of the witnesses, however the witness itself cannot enforce this procedure by a legal claim, which means the decision whether exclusion of the public will be allowed lies with the court. It is therefore helpful to describe specific reasons for which such procedure is requested.
This right can be claimed by a written application prior to the opening of trial with the chairing judge, who will be dealing with the case (this can be found on notice from court or checked by court file reference number at the register office).

To apply to court for measures for one’s protection (Section 209 of the Criminal Procedure Code)
The court is entitled to take measures for witness protection, especially to conceal their appearance or to enable them to testify at trial in the defendant’s absence.

This right can be asserted by a written application or oral submission on file until the trial has been opened:

  • with the public prosecutor – before trial has been ordered,
  • with the chairing judge who will deal with the case – after the trial has been ordered.

The witness cannot enforce such measures by a legal claim and therefore the decision whether such measures requested by the witness will be applied depends on the court (chairing judge). The chairing judge should satisfy it if there are concerns that the witness would not tell truth in the presence of the defendant or they or their relatives are facing a threat due to the given testimony. It cannot be expected on the other hand that the chairing judge would approve the request to conceal witness’s appearance if the perpetrator knows the witness or his identity is known to him.
Identity is usually concealed by means of witness examination using a telephone possibly also electronic voice modulation.
In case the court enables the witness to testify in perpetrator’s absence, the contents of the testimony given by the witness must be subsequently communicated to the defendant so that they are able to comment on it and/or possibly ask the witness additional questions by means of the court.

 
     
 
 
Safety

Right to protection involves several various rights. These include the right to protection against imminent danger (short term protection of victims provided by the police, eviction from shared housing), right to request notification if the accused is released from custody or they escape from it, also if they are released from the execution of the punishment, from protective medical treatment or security detention or if they escape from these facilities. This right can be claimed by a written application or oral submission into the report during the preliminary criminal proceedings with the investigating officer or public prosecutor, after the trial has been ordered with the respective court who deals with the case, and in case after sentence to an unconditional imprisonment – with the first instance court who took decision.

Witness has the right to request as well that his/her identity is concealed in case that there is a real threat connected to witness testimony provided in the criminal proceedings. Witness must be duly warned about this possibility, however if they want their identity to be concealed they must expressly apply for it before the first stage with the police authority. Witness’s personal details will be maintained separately from the files in such cases, and no other persons have access to these details apart from law enforcement authorities. Moreover, witness’s identity is concealed during the court proceedings in such cases and they are heard in such way that their identity cannot be disclosed.

Witness also has the option to request that the public is excluded from the courtroom during the time he/she gives witness testimony. The decision whether the public will be excluded or not is with the chairing judge, it is therefore helpful to describe specific reasons for which such procedure is requested and what important interest of the witness may be under threat if the public presence is kept during the hearing in such specific case.

 
     
 
 
Privacy

Journalists who report on criminality should approach the victims of criminal offences tactfully and sensitively. First of all, they should not inform about the cases in such way that it is possible to identify the victims. This holds particularly in case when the injured party is a child. Inappropriate information can influence the life of the victims and their next of kin negatively as per expert opinions.

Insensitively published information about crime victims can also lead to negative responses from the neighbourhood as per expert opinions, this holds especially for smaller towns and villages.

There are cases on the other hand when victims of crime proactively seek media attention and openly discuss their experience. Some people may find this helpful.

If this is requested by a victim, their representative, statutory representative, guardian or confidant, the details of residence and delivery address of the victim, their representative, legal representative, guardian or confidante, details of their place of work or occupation or business, and of their personal, family and property situation are maintained in such way that only law enforcement authorities, police officers and Probation and Mediation Service officers involved in the given case are allowed access. If it is essential for the achievement of the purpose of criminal proceedings or for the due assertion of the right to defend the person against who the criminal proceedings are conducted, the respective police officer or law enforcement authority will make the requested details accessible; a record of permitting access and the reasons for it will be entered in the files.

For more information see the links “Right to protection” and “Safety”.

 
     
 
 
Exclusion of contact with the
perpetrator of a criminal offence

Crime victim in the role of a witness has the option to request a separate waiting room so that he/she does not have to stay in proximity of other persons, e.g. of the defendant if prosecuted without custody, or to their next of kin and relatives during the time he/she waits in front of the courtroom to be called to the court proceedings. Application for the assertion of this right must be submitted in writing after the trial has been ordered, addressed to the chairing judge who will be dealing with the case.
The decision whether this option will be permitted always lies with the judge, but it holds that even in those court buildings where the area for a separate waiting room has not been set aside directly, it is possible to take such measures that the crime victim does not have to wait in proximity of other persons.

The injured party/witness has the right to request their examination to be carried out in defendant's absence or that their appearance is concealed. It is advisable to notify the chairing judge that this right will be claimed in advance, preferably in writing or verbally before the trial has been opened. In such cases, the witness or the injured party gives testimony during the trial without the defendant being present. Only the defendant's solicitor is thus present at the examination. The chairing judge subsequently informs the defendant about the content of the witness's testimony and the defendant can ask questions to the witness or to the injured party but only by means of the court. It is only after the hearing has been closed and the witness has left that the defendant will enter the courtroom again.