How can I be involved in the trial?
You can participate in the trial only if you are a civil claimant (1). Otherwise you can only be present during the court hearings that are open to the public.
If you have already become a civil claimant during the investigation you can participate in the trial without submitting any additional documents. If you have missed that opportunity but you still wish to take part in the trial you need to submit your civil claim to the court. The civil claim should be in writing and in Greek. There is no special form you need to use but you have to pay a fee of 10 euro. You can submit your claim at any time before the court starts examining the evidence.
Your participation as a civil claimant will provide you with a number of rights. You will be able to attend all court hearings, including the private ones, and you will be granted access to the entire documentation of the case. You will be allowed to speak before the court to explain your claim and you can also make comments after a witness has been interviewed or other evidence has been presented. You can ask questions through your lawyer to the offender, the witnesses and the other participants (e.g. the technical experts assigned on the case). If you find it necessary, you can ask the court to interview a witness or to request an expert opinion on a certain issue. You can also request postponement of the court hearing and replacement of a judge on the case.
As a victim you will also be summoned by the court to be interviewed as a witness. In this case you are obliged to appear before the court. During the interview you will have the opportunity to explain to the court how the offence happened. The judge may also ask you some additional questions in relation to the incident.
What are my rights as a witness?
If you have to be interviewed as witness during the trial the court will send you an invitation. In the invitation you will find the time and place of the court hearing you have to attend. During the interview you will be invited to tell what happened and may be asked to respond to additional questions. You can refuse to testify if you are a relative of the alleged offender.
If you have hearing or speech impediments the interview can be conducted in writing. If you do not speak Greek you are entitled to an interpreter free of charge.
After your interview you can ask the judge for reimbursement of your costs related to the interview (travel, accommodation, lost remuneration, etc.).
I am a minor. Do I have additional rights?
If you are under 18 years of age you can participate in the trial as a civil claimant (1). In this case your parents or guardians will represent you during the proceedings.
If you are under 18 years of age and you have suffered from a sexual offence you can benefit from additional assistance and support, including medical treatment. Before that, you will be asked to go through a medical examination. The aim of this examination is to assess whether you need special medical treatment. Depending on the results of the medical examination the court will order the provision of this treatment. If necessary, psychological support will also be provided for your family. You can also request the court to forbid any communication between the offender and you or to ban the offender from visiting the area you live in.
If you are under 18 years of age and you are the victim of a sexual offence, human trafficking or abduction you have additional rights. You will be allowed to examine the documentation of the case irrespective of whether you are a civil claimant or not. The prosecutor will also inform you about the release of the offender. You will be provided with a psychologist to assist you when you are interviewed as a witness and your statement will be recorded. This record will then be used during the proceedings and you will not be required to appear again before the court.
Can I receive legal aid?
During the trial you can have a lawyer but you need to pay for his/her services. You will be allowed to use a maximum of three lawyers during the proceedings.
You can use legal aid free of charge depending on your income and the crime you have suffered from. You will be provided with a lawyer free of charge only if you have suffered from a serious violent crime (torture and other offences of human dignity, discrimination, bodily injury, sexual offences, etc.) and your annual income is less than two-thirds of the minimum annual wage rate defined by the National General Collective Labour Agreement.
You will receive legal aid free of charge irrespective of your income only if you are:
- a victim of human trafficking or domestic violence; or
- a victim of a sexual offence under 18 years of age.
The lawyer appointed for you will help you prepare and submit your civil claim and will assist you during the trial.
How can I get protection, if I am in danger?
Special protection measures are available only to victims of specific crimes such as terrorism, organised crime and sexual offences.
If you are a victim of organised crime or terrorism and you are interviewed as a witness during the trial you can ask the court for special protection. Protection may include personal protection by the police, nondisclosure of your personal data (your name, place of birth, home and work address, job and age) and interviewing outside the court via audio or videoconference. If you work for a Greek governmental agency you can also ask to be relocated to another position.
If you believe that if open to the public the court hearing may harm your dignity, in particular if you have suffered from a sexual offence, you can ask the court to order a private hearing.
How can I claim damages from the offender or receive compensation from the state?
You can claim damages from the offender by submitting a civil claim. You can submit your claim within the framework of the criminal proceedings during the investigation or during the trial. By submitting your claim you will become a civil claimant (1). You can claim financial compensation for your property damage and/or for moral harm, pain and suffering. You can also add to your claim all expenses you have made in relation to the case (lawyers’ fees, correspondence, travel, etc.).
If the court finds the offender guilty it will order him/her to pay you compensation. In practice, this compensation is most often nominal and its amount is less than the actual damage you have suffered. For the rest you have to submit a separate claim before a civil court.
Alternatively, you can submit your claim directly to the civil court. The civil court will order the offender to pay you compensation corresponding to the actual damage you have suffered.
If you have submitted your claim before a civil court and the court has not decided on it yet you can re-submit it within the criminal proceedings. As a result, the case before the civil court will be closed.
You are entitled to compensation from the State if you are a victim of violent intentional crime. Please consult the factsheet on compensation to crime victims in Greece (available in English, Greek and other languages) of the European Judicial Network.
Are there opportunities to reach settlement/conciliation or to start mediation between the offender and myself?
Opportunities for conciliation between the offender and you are available only for cases of domestic violence. Conciliation takes place during the investigation of the crime and if it is successful the case does not go to court. If your case is already in court there are no further opportunities for conciliation between the offender and you.
I am a foreigner. How are my rights and interests protected?
If you are a foreigner who has suffered from a crime in Greece you have some additional rights aimed at facilitating your participation in the trial. These rights are available to you only if you take part in the proceedings as a civil claimant (1).
If you do not understand Greek the information about the case you receive must be provided in a language you understand. During the trial you have the right to use the assistance of an interpreter free of charge. The court will appoint an interpreter for you if you need one.
If you are a citizen or a permanent resident of a Member State of the European Union you can receive legal aid during the trial. You will be provided with a lawyer free of charge if you have suffered from a serious violent crime (torture and other offences of human dignity, discrimination, bodily injury, sexual offences, etc.) and your annual income is less than two-thirds of the minimum annual wage rate defined by the National General Collective Labour Agreement.
- Code of Criminal Procedure (Κώδικας Ποινικής Δικονομίας) – in Greek
- Law 3811/2009 Compensation of victims of intentional violent crimes and other provisions (Νόμoς 3811/2009 Αποζημίωση των θυμάτων εγκλημάτων βίας από πρόθεση και άλλες διατάξεις) – in Greek
- Law 3226/2004 on legal assistance to citizens with low income (Νόμoς 3226/2004 Νοµική βοήθεια σε πολίτες χαµηλού εισοδήματος και άλλες διατάξεις)
- Law 3500/2006 on domestic violence (Νόμος 3500/2006 Για την αντιμετώπιση της ενδοοικογενειακής βίας και άλλες διατάξεις)
- Presidential Decree 233/2003 on protection and assistance to victims of the crimes of articles 323, 323A, 349, 351 and 351A of the Criminal Code (Προεδρικό Διάταγμα 233/2003 Προστασία και Αρωγή στα θύματα των εγκλημάτων των άρθρων 323, 323Α, 349, 351 και 351Α του Ποινικού Κώδικα)
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