Opinions on System for Direct Participation of Crime Victims in Criminal Trials
The Cabinet adopted and submitted a bill to the Diet to amend the Code of Criminal Procedure aiming to protect rights and interests of crime victims.
Regarding the direct participation of crime victims in criminal trials, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) released its opinions twice, on June 17, 2005, and December 15, 2006. The JFBA again compiled opinions on a proposed system by the bill enabling crime victims to participate in criminal trials and submitted the opinions to relevant ministries and agencies, committees on judicial affairs in the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors, and political parties.
Outline of Opinions
Ⅰ. Main Opinion
The JFBA opposes the immediate introduction of a system to be newly established by the bill which enables crime victims to participate in criminal trials and requests careful consideration.
- Firstly the following systems should be introduced in order to assist crime victims.
- ) A system for crime victims to express their questions and opinions to public prosecutors.
- ) A system to provide crime victims with court appointed attorneys by government budget
- Reasons for opposing the immediate introduction of the system for participation of crime victims
- ) It could disrupt finding the truth.
- ) It could overturn the fundamental structure of criminal procedures.
- ) It could have an adverse effect on defense of defendants.
- ) It could cause further serious problems in juvenile criminal trials.
- ) It could have an adverse effect on finding the truth and disrupt the smooth operation of the Saiban-in (lay judges) system.
- ) The rule of evidence could be hollowed out.
- ) The Saiban-in system could not function smoothly.
- ) Similar systems in foreign countries are based on very different foundations and backgrounds.
- The JFBA concerns that the immediate introduction of the participation of crime victims in criminal trials could lead to irrecoverable troubles in the future and believes that the Diet should thoroughly discuss on this proposed system so that the public becomes convinced.
Japan Federation of Bar Associations
May 1, 2007