Victims' protection - national proceedings


Colombia - Law 975 Reincorporation of members of illegal armed groups 2005 ES

Procedural principles

Article 15. Clarification of the truth.
The Office of the Attorney General shall see to the protection of the victims, witnesses, and expert witnesses it intends to present at trial. Protecting the witnesses and expert witnesses the defense intends to present shall be entrusted to the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsperson. Protecting the judges who sit on the Superior Judicial District Courts that are to preside over the trials shall be a responsibility of the Superior Council of the Judiciary.

Institutions for the execution of this law

Article 36. Participation of social organizations that provide assistance to victims. In order to carry out the provisions of this law, the Office of the Procurator General shall promote mechanisms for the participation of the social organizations that assist victims.

Rights of victims with respect to the Administration of Justice

Article 37. Rights of the victims. The State shall guarantee victims’ access to the administration of justice. In developing the foregoing, the victims shall have the right: 37.1 To receive dignified human treatment throughout the procedure.
37.2 To the protection of their privacy and guarantee of their security and that of their family members and witnesses, whenever they are threatened.
37.3 To prompt and comprehensive reparation for the harm suffered; the perpetrator or participant in the crime shall be responsible for making such reparation.
37.4 To be heard and to receive facilitation for contributing evidence.
37.5 To receive information relevant to protecting their interests from the first contact with the authorities and in the terms established in the Code of Criminal Procedure; and to know the truth of the facts that constitute the circumstances of the crime of which they have been the victims.
37.6 To be informed of the final decision in the criminal prosecution and to pursue remedies when they are available.
37.7 To be assisted during the trial by an attorney of one’s trust, or by the Procurator General’s Judicial Office addressed in this law.
37.8 To receive comprehensive assistance for their recovery.
37.9 To be assisted at no cost by a translator or interpreter, in the event of not knowing the language, or not being able to perceive language through the sensory organs.
Article 38. Protection of victims and witnesses. The government officers to which this law refers shall adopt the appropriate measures and all relevant actions for protecting the security, physical and psychological well-being, dignity, and private life of the victims and witnesses, and of all other parties in the proceeding.
To this end, all relevant factors will be borne in mind, including age, gender, and health, as well as the nature of the crime, in particular when it entails sexual violence, disrespect for gender equality, or violence against children.
Special training will be given to the government officers who work with such victims. These measures may not redound to the detriment of the rights of the accused or the right to a fair and impartial trial, nor shall they be incompatible with such rights.
Article 39. Exception to public trials. As an exception to the principle that the hearings that constitute the trial should be public, the Superior Judicial District Court, in order to protect the victims, witnesses, or an accused, may order that part of the trial be held in camera. It may order that testimony be taken through an audio/video system to allow it to be controverted and confronted by the parties.
In particular, these measures shall be applied to victims of sexual assault or assault of children and adolescents who may be victims or witnesses.
Article 40. Other measures of protection during the trial. When public disclosure of evidentiary material elements, physical evidence, or information lawfully obtained would entail grave danger to the security of the witness or his or her family, the Prosecutor shall refrain from presenting them in any procedure prior to the trial. Instead, he or she shall prepare a summary of that information. In no case may these measures redound to the detriment of the rights of the accused or of a fair and impartial trial, nor shall they be incompatible with such rights.
Article 41. Attention to special needs. The judicial organs as well as the technical support agencies and the Procurator General’s Judicial Office for Justice and Peace shall be mindful of the special needs of women, children, the elderly, and the disabled to ensure their participation in the proceeding.

Rome Statute

Article 93 Other forms of cooperation

1. States Parties shall, in accordance with the provisions of this Part and under procedures of national law, comply with requests by the Court to provide the following assistance in relation to investigations or prosecutions:

(j) The protection of victims and witnesses and the preservation of evidence;