Amendments passed to allow crime victims to participate in trials

An amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure passed its third reading in the Legislative Yuan Tuesday that will allow victims of certain crimes to more actively participate in the trials of the perpetrators to make sure their voices can be better heard. (Shutterstock)
An amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure passed its third reading in the Legislative Yuan Tuesday that will allow victims of certain crimes to more actively participate in the trials of the perpetrators to make sure their voices can be better heard. (Shutterstock)

TAIPEI (CNA) — An amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure passed its third reading in the Legislative Yuan Tuesday that will allow victims of certain crimes to more actively participate in the trials of the perpetrators to make sure their voices can be better heard.

At present, the Code of Criminal Procedure focuses more on protecting the rights of defendants and restricts victims from giving their views during trials unless called as witnesses, according to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ)

The latest amendment to the code allows victims of attempted homicide and sexual assault to apply to the court to more actively participate in court hearings.

According to the amendment, victims of such crimes will be allowed to participate in the trials of their aggressors, as long as the court approves their applications.

The application will have to be filed after prosecutors issue an indictment to the defendant and before the conclusion of oral arguments.

The amendment also stipulates that following the investigation of each evidence, the presiding judge should ask the opinion of the litigants and their representatives, and give them “appropriate opportunity” to debate the admissibility of the evidence.

Applauding the latest amendment, ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) said it will allow the views of victims to be heard in court.

Also Tuesday, an amendment to the Detention Act cleared the legislature to better protect the rights of detained defendants.

The amendment stipulates that a defendant cannot be held incommunicado for more than 15 days.

It also has the requirement that a detainee’s religious freedom should be protected unless the expression of such freedom causes disturbance or security concerns at the detention center.

An independent review committee consisting of three to seven members should be established to regularly monitor the operations of detention centers, according to the amendment.

Detainees can appeal or file an administrative suit against the detention center should they feel that their rights have been infringed upon, the amendment states.

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