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Victims’ Rights

By: Ralph G. Smith and Daniel Smith

In most, if not all, civil law jurisdictions, the victim of a crime may have his civil claim against the accused determined simultaneously with the criminal charge. This is somewhat similar to the system of restitution in common law jurisdictions, except that in civil law countries the victim may be an actual party to the proceedings and may play a much more active role. He may, if he chooses, pursue his claim through the civil tribunal, but he has the right to link it to the criminal case.

As to some crimes, the victim may choose not to prosecute, and this will result in a dismissal of the case, whether the fiscal agrees to it or not. In these instances the crime is regarded as one against the individual, not against the State.

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