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Witnesses will be given a sword and shield

January 24 2007
20:44

The most vulnerable in the trials are witnesses to the crime and direct victims themselves. On the side of the accused is usually full power of the Russian legal profession, in some cases, acting with the support of informal groups of citizens, should be explained clearly to witnesses and victims, what will happen to them if they do not withdraw the claim or does not change the evidence. Accordingly, often the trials end in nothing, but the real criminals are celebrating victory.

In 2004, Russia adopted a law on state protection of victims, witnesses and other participants in criminal proceedings, but, according to the leader of the human rights movement "Resistance" Olga Kostina, in practice, does not seem not so optimistic. " According to statistics, one quarter of the number of witnesses involved in court proceedings, change their testimony under pressure from the prosecution. About ten witnesses each year die as a result of what they agreed to cooperate with the investigation. But the number of witnesses who are killed, but registered as "accidentally killed" - unknown. But it seems that it put into motion.

For over a year with the protection of the rights of witnesses and victims involved in human rights movement "Resistance", which hosted public reception and a telephone hotline legal and psychological assistance to victims. And on January 24 in the State Duma held its first meeting of the Working Group to make amendments to the laws of Russia aimed at strengthening the protection of the rights of victims and witnesses. In particular, even at today's meeting, the participants set for themselves two key purposes: as soon as possible to prepare and amend the existing Law "On protection of victims and witnesses in criminal proceedings, as well as to update the issue of budgetary support to all projects in the field of the rights of victims and witnesses. "Of course, you can review specific cases, it is possible to protect individuals, but if we want all citizens have the opportunity to protect themselves and their loved ones, there is need to take certain legislative effort" - the chairman believes the human rights movement "Resistance" Olga Kostina .

"In the near future, our group will prepare a draft statute, or even a few acts necessary to resolve this long standing issue," - promised the First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on civil, criminal, arbitral and procedural legislation Valery Grebennikov. As stressed by a deputy, a group of little time and if we want to do something serious, and we would very much like, we must understand that the State Duma should be able to at least a first reading to adopt the package of bills, "said MP .

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