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Texts adopted
Tuesday, 12 December 2000 - Strasbourg OJ edition
Standing of victims in criminal procedure *
A5-0355/2000
Text
 Resolution

Initiative of the Portuguese Republic with a view to adopting a Council Framework Decision on the standing of victims in criminal procedure (9650/2000 - C5-0392/2000 - 2000/0813(CNS) )

The initiative was amended as follows:

Text proposed by the Portuguese Republic(1)   Amendments of Parliament
(Amendment 1)
Recital 1
   (1) In accordance with the action plan of the Council and the Commission on how best to apply the provisions of the Treaty of Amsterdam on an area of freedom, security and justice, in particular point 51(c), within five years following the entry into force of the Treaty, the question of victim support should be addressed, by making a comparative survey of victim compensation schemes, and the feasibility of taking action within the Union assessed.
   (1) In accordance with the action plan of the Council and the Commission on how best to apply the provisions of the Treaty of Amsterdam on an area of freedom, security and justice, in particular points 19 and 51(c), within five years following the entry into force of the Treaty, the question of victim support should be addressed, by making a comparative survey of victim compensation schemes, and the feasibility of taking action within the Union assessed.
(Amendment 2)
Recital 2
   (2) The Commission submitted a Communication on 14 July 1999 to the Council, the European Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee entitled "Crime victims in the European Union: reflections on standards and action”.
   (2) Account must be taken of the contents of the Communication submitted by the Commission on 14 July 1999 to the Council, the European Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee, entitled "Crime victims in the European Union: reflections on standards and action”(1 ).
_____________
( 1 ) COM(1999) 349 .
(Amendment 3)
Recital 3
   (3) The European Parliament approved on 15 June 2000 a Resolution concerning the Commission Communication .
   (3) Account must be taken of the Resolution of the European Parliament adopted on 15 June 2000 approving the Commission Communication of 14 July 1999.
(Amendment 4)
Recital 4a (new)
(4a) In the conclusions of the Tampere European Council of 15 and 16 October 1999, specifically in paragraphs 5, 29, 30 and 31, it is stated that the enjoyment of freedom requires a genuine area of justice, where people can approach courts and authorities in any Member State as easily as in their own. In order to facilitate access to justice, the European Council calls on the Commission to establish an easily accessible information system, to be maintained and updated by a network of competent national authorities. It invites the Council, on the basis of proposals by the Commission, to establish minimum standards ensuring an adequate level of legal aid in crossborder cases throughout the Union. Common minimum standards should be laid down for multilingual forms or documents throughout the Union.
(Amendment 5)
Recital 5
   (5) The Council adopted on 24 February 1997, Joint Action 97/154/JHA concerning action to combat trafficking in human beings and sexual exploitation of children.
   (5) The Council adopted on 24 February 1997, pursuant to Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union, Joint Action 97/154/JHA concerning action to combat trafficking in human beings and sexual exploitation of children.
(Amendment 6)
Recital 6
   (6) The Council approved on 23 November 1995 a Resolution on the protection of witnesses in the fight against organised crime.
   (6) It should be noted that the Council approved on 23 November 1995 a Resolution on the protection of witnesses in the fight against organised crime.
(Amendment 7)
Recital 7
   (7) Various instruments from international bodies already exist in this area:
   (7) It is necessary to recall the various instruments from international bodies which already exist in this area:
   - Recommendation No R (85) 11 of the Council of Europe on the position of the victim in the framework of criminal law and procedure,
   - Recommendation No R (85) 11 of the Council of Europe on the position of the victim in the framework of criminal law and procedure,
   - the European Convention on Compensation to Victims of Violent Crimes, signed in Strasbourg on 24 November 1983,
   - the European Convention on Compensation to Victims of Violent Crimes, signed in Strasbourg on 24 November 1983,
   - the Recommendation of the Council of Europe of 17 September 1987 on aid to victims and prevention of persecution,
   - Recommendation No R (99) 19 of the Committee of Ministers to Member States concerning mediation in penal matters,
   - Recommendation No R (99) 19 of the Committee of Ministers to Member States concerning mediation in penal matters,
   - the United Nations Declaration of basic principles of justice for victims of crime and abuse of power;
   - the United Nations Declaration of basic principles of justice for victims of crime and abuse of power, adopted in Resolution 40/34 of the UN General Assembly of 29 November 1985 ,
   - the work of the European Forum for Victim Services, in particular the Statement of victims" rights in the process of criminal justice.
   - the work of the European Forum for Victim Services, in particular the Statement of victims" rights in the process of criminal justice.
(Amendment 8)
Recital 8
   (8) The Member States should approximate their laws and regulations concerning criminal procedure, namely with respect to supporting victims of crime and taking specific account of the principles set out hereafter.
   (8) The Member States should, as a matter of urgency and necessity, approximate their laws and regulations concerning criminal and civil procedure, namely with respect to supporting victims of crime and taking specific account of the principles set out hereafter.
(Amendment 11)
Recital 11
   (11) The provisions of this Framework Decision are confined to looking after victims" interests under criminal procedure.
   (11) The rules of this Framework Decision are concerned with looking after victims" interests under criminal procedure.
(Amendment 12)
Recital 12
   (12) For that reason, leaving aside any future addressing of the whole issue of compensation for crime victims within the Union, the provisions of this Framework Decision regarding compensation, as well as those regarding mediation, relate to criminal procedure and thus do not concern arrangements under civil procedure.
   (12) For that reason, while it is also necessary to address the whole issue of compensation for crime victims within the Union, the provisions of this Framework Decision regarding compensation, as well as those regarding mediation, relate to criminal procedure and thus do not concern arrangements under civil procedure.
(Amendment 13)
Recital 13
   (13) It is necessary to approximate arrangements under criminal procedure as regards the standing and main rights of victims, with particular regard to the right to be treated with respect for their dignity, the right to provide and receive information, the right to understand and be understood, the right to be protected at the various stages of procedure, the right to have allowance made for the disadvantage of living in a different Member State from the one in which they were a victim, etc .
   (13) It is necessary to approximate arrangements under criminal procedure as regards the standing and main rights of victims, particularly children, including the right to be treated with respect for their dignity, the right to provide and receive information, the right to understand and be understood, the right to be protected at the various stages of procedure, the right to have allowance made for the disadvantage of living in a different Member State from the one in which they were a victim.
(Amendment 14)
Recital 14
   (14) It is important to afford victims the best legal protection and defence of their interests, irrespective of the Member State in which they are present.
   (14) It is necessary to guarantee victims proper access to justice with the best legal protection and appropriate defence of their interests, irrespective of the Member State in which they are present.
(Amendment 18)
Article 1(a)
   (a) "victim" shall mean a natural person who suffers any form of crime within the territory of any Member State. In the event of crime victims" death, members of their family or persons in a similar position may also be regarded as victims, having regard in both cases to the domestic legal provisions of the Member State in which procedure takes place.
   (a) "victim" shall mean a natural person who suffers any form of crime within the territory of any Member State. In the event of crime victims" death, members of their family or persons in a similar position shall also be regarded as victims.
(Amendment 19)
Article 1(b)
   (b) "victim support group" shall mean a non-governmental organisation whose purpose of providing assistance and acting as appropriate, free of charge, on a confidential basis, is recognised by the Member State as complementing its own action in this area;
   (b) "victim support group" shall mean a non-governmental organisation legally constituted in a Member State whose objectives and/or activities of providing assistance to the victims of crime and acting as appropriate, free of charge, on a confidential basis, is recognised by the Member State as complementing its own action in this area;
(Amendment 20)
Article 1(ba) (new)
   (ba) "criminal procedure" shall mean the procedure laid down by the applicable national legislation;
(Amendment 21)
Article 1(c)
   (c) "procedure" shall be broadly construed to include, in addition to the process laid down by law , all of victims" contacts with any authority, public service or victim support group in connection with their case , before or after criminal proceedings are in progress.
   (c) "procedure" shall be broadly construed to include, in addition to the criminal procedure , all of victims" contacts in their capacity as victims with any authority, public service or victim support group before or after criminal proceedings are in progress.
(Amendment 22)
Article 1(ca) (new)
   (ca) "mediation in penal matters" shall mean any endeavours, before or during the criminal procedure, to negotiate a settlement between the victim and the author of the crime via the mediation of a competent person.
(Amendment 23)
Article 2(1)
   1. Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that victims are treated with respect for the dignity of the individual and shall recognise the rights and legitimate interests of victims at all stages of procedure.
   1. Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that victims are treated with respect for the dignity of the individual and shall recognise the rights and legitimate interests of victims at all stages of procedure, especially in the framework of criminal procedure, by means of the recognition of the legal standing of the victim .
Special attention shall be paid to groups which are particularly vulnerable owing to their age, their gender or other reasons.
(Amendment 24)
Article 2(2)
   2. Appropriate measures shall be taken for victims who are particularly vulnerable on account of their age, their sex or other circumstances.
   2. All Member States shall adopt appropriate measures to ensure that victims who are particularly vulnerable on account of their age, their sex or any other circumstances receive specific treatment corresponding as closely as possible to their particular situation .
(Amendment 25)
Article 3
Right to provide information
Right to be heard and to furnish evidence
Member States shall safeguard the right of victims to be heard in the procedure and their right to furnish evidence, under the conditions deemed necessary for the proper conduct of procedure.
Member States shall safeguard the right of victims to be heard in the procedure and their right to furnish evidence, under the conditions deemed necessary for the proper conduct of procedure.
Member States shall ensure that their authorities question victims only on such matters as are strictly necessary for the proper conduct of the penal procedure.
Member States shall take into account in the procedure the particular rights and needs of children who are victims of crime.
(Amendment 26)
Article 4(1)
   1. Member States shall ensure, by appropriate means of keeping them informed, that victims have access to information of relevance for the protection of their interests from the outset, in particular as from the time of their first contact with the police, covering at least the following points:
   1. Member States shall ensure, by appropriate means of keeping them informed, covering all the official languages of the European Union , that victims have access to information of relevance for the protection of their interests from the outset, in particular as from the time of their first contact with the police or the relevant services , covering at least the following points:
(Amendment 27)
Article 4(1)(a)
   (a) the type of services or organisations to which they can turn for support;
   (a) the type of services or organisations to which they can turn for support, in particular assistance with finding suitable accommodation providing appropriate security arrangements ;
(Amendment 28)
Article 4(1)(e)
   (e) how and under what conditions they can obtain protection, where warranted ;
   (e) how and under what conditions they can obtain protection;
(Amendment 29)
Article 4(1)(f)
   (f) how and on what terms victims will be entitled to receive legal advice or legal aid;
   (f) how victims will be entitled to receive legal advice, legal aid or any other form of assistance or counselling ;
(Amendment 30)
Article 4(1)(fa) (new)
   (fa) the extent to which victims have a right to medical and psychological support, the more especially in cases of major trauma suffered by victims of physical and/or sexual violence;
(Amendment 31)
Article 4(1)(g)
   (g) requirements and preconditions in order for victims to be entitled to compensation;
   (g) requirements in order for victims to be entitled to compensation;
(Amendment 32)
Article 4(1)(h)
   (h) if they are resident in another Member State, any special arrangements available to them in order to defend their interests.
   (h) if they are resident in another Member State, whatever special means, procedures, mechanisms or arrangements are most suited to the defence of their rights and interests .
(Amendment 33)
Article 4(2)
   2. Victims" right to receive information shall continue throughout the procedure, in particular after judgment has been given, in a manner appropriate to the proper conduct of the procedure, while leaving victims the option of declining to be kept informed.
   2. Member States shall guarantee that every victim of a crime is kept informed:
   (a) of the action taken on his complaint or suit;
   (b) of the relevant elements enabling him to follow the course of the penal procedure, where it is taken out against the person, persons or organisation responsible for the crime against him, other than concerning such exceptional elements as might impede the normal conduct of the procedure;
   (c) of the judgment given by the legal authorities.
(Amendment 34)
Article 4(2a) (new)
2a. Member States shall adopt the necessary measures to ensure that in cases where the victim may be at risk he is informed of the release of the person arrested or sentenced for the crime against him and of any other circumstance that might give special cause for concern.
(Amendment 35)
Article 4(2b) (new)
2b. Member States shall guarantee the right of the victim to decline the information referred to in paragraphs 2 and 2a above, except where its provision is explicitly required under the criminal law applying to the case.
(Amendment 36)
Article 5
In the same way as for defendants, Member States shall take the necessary measures to prevent language difficulties, or inadequate powers of expression or comprehension, from impeding either victims" direct or indirect understanding of important steps in the procedure or any involvement of victims in such steps, particularly through the use of appropriate interpreting and communication facilities.
In the same way as for defendants, Member States shall adopt the necessary measures to guarantee the interpreting and communication facilities required to ensure that the victim can fully understand and participate in the procedure and can testify in the penal procedure, with the right to use any of the official languages of the European Union for this purpose.
(Amendment 37)
Article 7
Member States shall not require victims to pay any legal costs or shall arrange for the possibility of having such costs refunded .
Member States shall not require victims to pay any legal costs.
(Amendment 38)
Article 8(1)
   1. Member States shall ensure a suitable level of protection for crime victims and their families or persons in a similar position, particularly as regards their safety and protection of their privacy, where there is a serious risk of reprisals or firm evidence of intent to intrude upon their privacy.
   1. Member States shall ensure a suitable level of protection for crime victims and their families or persons in a similar position, particularly as regards their safety and protection of their privacy, where the competent authorities in the procedure believe there is a serious risk of reprisals or firm evidence permitting the victims to presume the existence of intent to intrude upon their privacy.
Member States shall cooperate reciprocally where it becomes necessary, for reasons of safety, to move victims and their families or persons in a similar position from their State of residence to a State regarded as safer.
(Amendment 39)
Article 8(2)
   2. Member States shall also ensure that it is possible, by means of a court order, made of the court's own motion or at a victim's request, to protect the privacy and image of victims and their families or persons in a similar position, where necessary in order to prevent secondary victimisation, particularly for vulnerable victims.
   2. Member States shall also ensure the protection of the privacy and/or image of victims and their families or persons in a similar position, in order to prevent secondary victimisation, particularly for vulnerable victims.
(Amendment 40)
Article 8(3)
   3. Member States shall further ensure, for the purposes of protecting victims, that court premises have special waiting areas for victims.
   3. Member States shall further ensure, for the purposes of protecting victims, that the premises on which the legal proceedings take place have special waiting areas for victims designed so as to prevent contact with the author of the crime, unless the victims themselves request otherwise .
(Amendment 41)
Article 8(4)
   4. Where there is a need to protect victims from the effects of giving evidence in open court, as may arise on account of a victim's age or the nature of the offence or for other reasons, Member States shall ensure that victims are allowed to testify in camera or by way of a video conference or video recording or by other appropriate means, without prejudice to Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
   4. Where there is a need to protect victims from the effects of giving evidence in open court, as may arise on account of a victim's age or the nature of the offence or for other reasons, Member States shall ensure that victims are allowed to testify in camera or by way of a video conference or by other appropriate means, without prejudice to Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
(Amendment 42)
Article 8(4a) (new)
4a. In all cases where physical protection (for security) and/or moral protection (for dignity) of victims is required, the criminal trials shall be held in camera and any divulging of victims" personal data shall be subject to appropriate restrictions.
(Amendment 43)
Article 9(1)
   1. Member States shall ensure that victims have the option of seeking compensation in the course of criminal procedure.
   1. Member States shall ensure that victims have the option of seeking compensation in the course of criminal procedure or outside it.
(Amendment 44)
Article 9(2)
   2. In their criminal legislation, Member States shall establish ways of using compensation and restitution as criminal law penalties or measures, having particular regard to realisation by convicted offenders of the practical impact of their offences on their victims" lives.
   2. All Member States shall adopt the necessary measures making it possible, where this can be done within a reasonable time, for the compensation due to the victim to be paid by the author of the crime.
(Amendment 45)
Article 9(4)
   4. Recoverable property belonging to victims which is seized in the course of procedure shall be returned to victims as soon as possible.
   4. Recoverable property belonging to victims which is seized in the course of procedure shall be returned to victims immediately, save where it is absolutely necessary for the criminal procedure .
(Amendment 46)
Article 10(1)
   1. Where deemed appropriate, Member States shall ensure that mediation forms part of the measures available under their system of criminal procedure.
   1. Where deemed appropriate, Member States shall adopt the necessary measures to ensure, taking into account the specific interests of victims, that mediation forms part of the measures available under their system of criminal procedure.
(Amendment 47)
Article 10(2)
   2. Where deemed appropriate, Member States shall ensure that mediated out-of-court settlements between victims and defendants are taken into account, with victims" agreement, in subsequent criminal proceedings, subject to compliance with the conditions laid down for the purpose .
   2. Where deemed appropriate, Member States shall adopt the necessary measures to ensure that mediated out-of-court settlements between victims and defendants are taken into account, with victims" agreement, in subsequent criminal proceedings.
(Amendment 48)
Article 11(1)
   1. Member States shall ensure that victims resident in another Member State are able to participate properly in the criminal procedure, being placed at a minimum of disadvantage as a result of their place of residence, in particular by means of:
   1. Member States shall ensure that victims resident in another Member State are able to participate properly in the criminal procedure, being placed at a minimum of disadvantage as a result of their place of residence, in particular by means of:
   - the possibility of making statements straight away at the outset of the procedure ,
   - the possibility of making statements straight away as from the moment of the crime,
   - the use of standard forms, where possible, at all stages of procedure,
   - the use of standard forms, in all the official languages of the European Union, at all stages of procedure,
   - the use of modern facilities for giving evidence, such as video conferencing, telephone conference calls and video recording .
   - the use as widely as possible of modern facilities for giving evidence, such as video conferencing and telephone conference calls, pursuant to Articles 10 and 11 of the Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters between the Member States of the European Union of 29 May 2000(1 ), to enable victims resident abroad to be heard.
_____________
( 1 ) OJ C 197, 12.7.2000, p. 3.
(Amendment 49)
Article 11(2)
   2. Member States shall ensure that the necessary measures are taken to enable victims to remain in the Member State in which the procedure is to take place, where necessary for the proper conduct of the procedure.
   2. Member States shall enable victims who so wish to remain in the Member State in which the procedure is to take place, where necessary for the proper conduct of the procedure.
(Amendment 50)
Article 11(3)
   3. Member States shall ensure that the fact that a victim is resident in another Member State and has to return there will affect the due conduct of the procedure as little as possible . For this purpose, Member States shall ensure that international cooperation arrangements pay particular regard to the position of victims resident in another Member State.
   3. Member States shall adopt the necessary measures to ensure that the fact that a victim is resident in another Member State and has to return there will not affect the due conduct of the procedure. For this purpose, Member States shall guarantee that international cooperation arrangements pay particular regard to the position of victims resident in another Member State.
(Amendment 51)
Article 11(4)
   4. Member States shall ensure that victims can report offences in their Member State of residence in the case of crimes committed against them in another Member State, in order to have the relevant proceedings initiated in that other Member State.
   4. Member States shall guarantee that victims can lodge a complaint or suit with the competent authorities in their Member State of residence in the case of crimes committed against them in another Member State.
The above-mentioned authorities shall forward the complaint or suit submitted to the competent authority of the Member State in which the crime was committed in order to have the relevant proceedings initiated in that other Member State.
(Amendment 52)
Article 12(2)
   2. Member States shall, for the purposes of paragraph 1, set up a European victim support freephone line to serve, in particular , the purposes laid down in Article 4.
   2. Member States shall, for the purposes of paragraph 1, set up a 24-hour European victim support freephone line operating in all the official languages of the Union to serve, inter alia , the purposes laid down in Article 4.
(Amendment 53)
Article 12a (new)
Article 12a
Cooperation between Member States
Member States shall cooperate closely to ensure the protection of victims" interests.
(Amendment 54)
Article 14(1)
   1. Within public services or through funding for victim support groups, Member States shall encourage measures enabling personnel involved in the procedure or merely coming into contact with victims to receive suitable training.
   1. Within public services or through funding for victim support groups, Member States shall encourage measures enabling personnel involved in the procedure or merely coming into contact with victims to receive suitable training specifically adapted to the needs of the most vulnerable groups.
(Amendment 55)
Article 15(1)
   1. Member States shall create the necessary conditions, in the course of the procedure, to prevent secondary victimisation and avoid placing victims under unnecessary pressure . This shall apply particularly as regards proper reception, especially initial intake, and establishment of conditions geared to their situation at premises where they are looked after.
   1. Member States shall create the necessary conditions, in the course of the procedure, to prevent secondary victimisation. This shall apply particularly as regards proper reception, especially initial intake, and establishment of conditions geared to their situation at suitable premises where they are looked after.
(Amendment 56)
Article 15(2)
   2. For the purposes of paragraph 1, Member States shall in particular include courts, police stations, hospitals, public services and victim support groups which may be involved in dealing with the situation .
   2. For the purposes of paragraph 1, Member States shall adopt the necessary measures to ensure that the above conditions are met by all administrations and victim support groups at all premises where victims are received .
(Amendment 57)
Article 16(1)
   1. Member States shall take the measures necessary to comply with this Framework Decision by ... .
Member States shall take the measures necessary to comply with this Framework Decision by the following deadlines:
   (a) for Article 10, within three years of the entry into force of this framework decision;
   (b) for Articles 5 and 6, within one year of the entry into force of this framework decision;
   (c) for the remaining provisions, within six months of the entry into force of this framework decision.
(Amendment 58)
Article 16(2)
Article 16a
Evaluation
   2. Member States shall forward, by ... , to the General Secretariat of the Council and to the Commission the text of the provisions transposing into national law the obligations laid down by this Framework Decision. The Council shall assess by ..., by means of a report drawn up by the General Secretariat of the Council on the basis of the information received from Member States and a report in writing submitted by the Commission, to what extent the Member States have complied with this Framework Decision.
Member States shall forward, by the dates specified in Article 16 above , to the General Secretariat of the Council and to the Commission the text of the provisions transposing into national law the obligations laid down by this Framework Decision. The Council shall, within one year of the above-mentioned dates, assess, by means of a report drawn up by the General Secretariat of the Council on the basis of the information received from Member States and a report in writing submitted by the Commission, to what extent the Member States have complied with this Framework Decision.

(1) OJ C 243, 24.8.2000, p. 4.


European Parliament legislative resolution on the initiative of the Portuguese Republic with a view to adopting a Council Framework Decision on the standing of victims in criminal procedure (9650/2000 - C5-0392/2000 - 2000/0813(CNS) )

(Consultation procedure)

The European Parliament,

-  having regard to the initiative of the Portuguese Republic (9650/2000(1) ),

-  having regard to Article 34(2)(b) of the EU Treaty,

-  having been consulted by the Council pursuant to Article 39(1) of the EU Treaty (C5-0392/2000 ),

-  having regard to Rules 106 and 67 of its Rules of Procedure,

-  having regard to the report of the Committee on Citizens" Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Legal Affairs and the Internal Market and the Committee on Women's Rights and Equal Opportunities (A5-0355/2000 ),

1.  Approves the initiative of the Portuguese Republic, subject to Parliament's amendments;

2.  Calls on the Council to notify Parliament should it intend to depart from the text approved by Parliament;

3.  Asks to be consulted again should the Council intend to make substantial modifications to the initiative of the Portuguese Republic;

4.  Calls on all Member States to ratify the European Convention of 24 November 1983 on the Compensation of the Victims of Violent Crime;

5.  Instructs its President to forward this opinion to the Council, the Commission and the Government of the French Republic.

(1) OJ C 243, 24.8.2000, p. 4.

Last updated: 1 June 2004Legal notice