Posted February. 21, 2005 22:48,
Crime victims feel hopeless. Even if investigations are launched upon filing for legal action, the victims are not permitted to view the results of the investigation.
A prominent instance in which the victims rights are placed at a lower tier when compared to that of the suspects rights is when the victims right to know the facts during a crime investigation and trial procedures is denied.
P (17), a girl living in Seoul, had been sexually assaulted by her father since 2000. P filed a lawsuit against her father in December of last year with the Seoul Central District Court, and the prosecution arrested the father on February 7. In the case report sent by the prosecution were the cryptic words: Public hearing in detention (sending an arraigned suspect to the court for trial). P requested a copy of the written arraignment listing the investigation results, but simply received an answer with the words: Not permitted stamped across the page.
C, a high school student residing in Gunpo, Gyeonggi-do, took a death leap at an apartment near his school last April in response to his fear of a teachers assault. His family filed a lawsuit against the teacher. The prosecution sent a short notice in regards to the teacher last December, stating that some parts of the lawsuit would be indicted, while some sections would be announced not guilty due to the lack of evidence. Confused with the results, the family of C requested a copy of the written arraignment through their lawyer. But the request was rejected that day, and no additional explanation ensued.
H (27, woman), an aspirant announcer, filed a lawsuit against an announcer at an anonymous broadcast station last April. H merely received a notice stating that the suspect was not guilty. While filing a complaint at the supreme prosecutors office this February, H requested a copy of the case records at the district prosecutors office and was rejected.
The three plaintiffs decided to file an administrative lawsuit at the Seoul Administrative Court against the prosecutors on February 22. They would like the prosecution to reverse their decision on the non-permission of distributing copies of the case records.
They stated that in the event of filing a lawsuit after being victimized, it was a double injustice in not being informed on how the investigations proceeded and what laws were applied.
Law for Whom?-
The Criminal Procedure Code specifies that the plaintiff (victim) should be notified of the results and its procedures in written form within seven days of finalizing the case.
But the prosecution interprets the word procedure to mean limited instances. For instance, when indicting a suspect, the prosecution notifies the plaintiff with the cryptic, Public hearing in detention. When requested for a copy of the written arraignment, the prosecution rejects the appeal on the grounds of protecting the rights of the suspect (defendant or criminal).
In the case of non-prosecution of the suspect, the Criminal Procedure Code includes an addendum specifying that the prosecution should provide the reasoning behind the decision. But the investigation records are still closed from the public.
Minister of Justice Kim Seung-kew stated last September, Legal procedures are often concluded and criminals released without the victims knowledge, and that its time to relieve the victims and understand their pain.
Two months later, the Ministry of Justice promulgated the Basic Bill for Victims of Crimes. This bill provides that should the victim desire, the government should notify the victim of investigation, trial and sentence proceedings.
It still seems difficult to receive a written arraignment listing the investigation results of the prosecution.
A Ministry of Justice source stated, In respecting the rights of the defendant, even if the Basic Law is installed, it would be difficult to provide a copy of the case records to the victim.