Judicial Reform and the Empowerment of Victims
Zagreb, 28-29 Nov. 2012
Research on Witness and Victims Support in Croatia
Surveys and Assessment on Witness Position and Needs during the Criminal Justice Trials in 2007
The aim of the project activity was to provide governmental and nongovernmental agencies with information and analysis on witness' and victims' support system which will be used as the analytical tool for policy makers. In view of the very limited research in the area, this assessment represents a significant source of findings for future policies of developing witness support system.
a) survey of experiences, needs and opinions of witnesses and judges;
b) analysis of survey results;
c) analysis of international documents, foreign and national regulations with recommendations for amendments to the legislative framework;
d) recommendations for methods of organizing and implementing the provision of support and the protection of victims` and witnesses` rights in practice.
In the first months of 2007 UNDP in Croatia conducted a survey. The target groups of the surveys were witnesses who, during the course of one-month survey, testified at nine courts, as well as county court judges handling criminal cases. The experiences, needs and opinions of the especially vulnerable group of witnesses – witnesses of war crimes - were researched by means of in-depth interviews. The results of the survey and analysis with recommendations provided by expert team are published in the publication "Support to victims and witnesses of criminal offences in the Republic of Croatia", available on UNDP Croatia website.
The first research of this kind in Croatia was presented at the roundtable on July 20th 2007. This event, organized by UNDP and Croatian Ministry of Justice, was an excellent opportunity to consider systematic providing of support to victims and witnesses in judicial proceedings. Around 50 participants took part in the round table discussion, including President of the Supreme Court, Chief State Prosecutor, State Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, County Courts Presidents and representatives of OSCE, EC, ICTY, Embassies and Nongovernmental organizations.
This project was implemented within the Regional Transitional Justice Programme (2006-2007). On the basis of the research findings and recommendations, UNDP CO Croatia developed new project document for development of WVS system in Croatia signed by UNDP and the Ministry of Justice on October 23rd 2007.