Unfortunately we live in a society in which criminal acts are becoming more frequent, leaving millions of victims with a large number of physical, psychological and economic consequences. What about the victims of these crimes? What are the rights of the victims?
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Do victims have special rights?
YES, apart from the fundamental rights that all of us have, the victims, when considered as such, are automatically subject to special protection by the state since their fundamental rights have been violated in one way or another.
What are the rights of the victims?
Law 975 of 2005 and International Humanitarian Law indicate that victims have the right to the truth, to justice, to reparation and guarantees of non-repetition. These rights become effective when they are given the possibility of participating during the process to ask questions, provide evidence, report assets of illegal armed groups or their members, provide and receive information, formulate their claim of comprehensive reparation, among other intervention modalities.
- The right to the truth: It is the inalienable right that society and especially the victims have to know the reality about the acts committed by the armed groups, their perpetrators and the causes, and to know what happened to their missing or kidnapped relatives and the their whereabouts.
This is not only an individual right but it is also a collective right. The confession is the mechanism to guarantee the right to the truth, even in International Humanitarian Law.
- The right to justice: Victims have the right for the State to investigate, judge and punish those responsible for the crimes committed. In this sense, the State has the duty to carry out an effective investigation that leads to the identification, capture and punishment of the persons responsible for crimes committed by members of armed groups organized outside the Law, to ensure the victims of such conduct the access to effective remedies that repair the damage inflicted and to take all the measures destined to avoid the repetition of such violations.
- The right to comprehensive reparation: It includes the actions that promote restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition of behaviors. It can be symbolic, real, individual or collective.
Summary of victims rights
- Access to justice from the beginning of the corresponding process to know the truth of the fact that caused damage. Be listened to, provide evidence and receive permanent information about the process.
- Request and obtain protection for their safety when they are threatened or in the face of potential risks or dangers.
- Require and promote the Incident of comprehensive reparation.
- Receive from the Ombudsman’s Office assistance for the exercise of their rights and within the framework of the law.
- To be treated throughout the procedure in a humane and dignified way.
- To be informed about the final decision regarding criminal prosecution and to file appeals when appropriate.
- Be assisted and represented by a trusted lawyer or by the Public Ministry, without prejudice to their being able to act directly.
- Receive free assistance from a translator or interpreter, in the event of not knowing the language or not being able to perceive the language through the sense organs.
- Receive comprehensive help and assistance from the State for your recovery.