How can I be involved in the trial?
You can be involved in the trial as a victim with no special status and as a civil claimant. As a civil claimant, you can claim damages from the offender and have some additional rights, as compared to the victim.
As a victim, you can:
- have translation of documents and interpretation of the court debates free of charge, if you do not understand the language used in the court hearing attend all public hearings; you can attend private hearings, you can attend a private hearing, if you are called as a witness; you are obliged to be present only when you have to testify;
- be called to testify at the hearing where oral arguments will take place – you will receive a written summons from the public prosecutor and you will answer the questions of the court and the defence lawyers;
- receive a free copy of your testimony, immediately or within one month of the hearing;
- be represented by a lawyer;
- be assisted by victim assistance services;
- join the proceedings as a civil claimant before the public prosecutor’s charge.
As a civil claimant, you:
- will receive a written summons to the hearing where oral arguments will take place;
- have the right to attend all public and private hearings; you are obliged to be present to state your case and will generally speak after the witnesses are heard;
- can argue the case on all issues, related to your civil interest, and testify about the facts; your lawyer can question the experts and the defence witnesses;
- have the right to receive a copy of the case file through your lawyer to prepare your trial arguments;
- have the right, by the time you argue before the court and before the judge rules on the merits of the case, to request reimbursement of your expenses, related to the proceedings, and your costs, especially for experts and witnesses; if the offender is acquitted or you withdraw from the proceedings, you pay your own expenses, but, in view of your financial situation, the court may relieve you from that obligation fully or partially.
What are my rights as a witness?
When you are called for an interview as a witness during the trial you have to attend the court hearing and tell the judge everything you know about the incident.
During trial you are seated at the back of the courtroom in order to avoid direct contact with the defendants.
As a witness you can ask for reimbursement of your costs related to your testimony.
I am a minor. Do I have additional rights?
If you are a minor, you have some additional rights:
- if the protection of your interests is not completely ensured by at least one of your legal representatives, to have a special representative, ensuring the protection of your interests and exercising your rights as a civil claimant;
- to be accompanied to your hearings by an adult of your choice.
Can I receive legal aid?
If you do not have sufficient financial resources, you have the right to free legal aid organised by the Bar Council, if you want such and if you are:
- a citizen of Luxembourg;
- a foreign citizen authorised to settle in the country;
- a citizen of an EU Member State;
- a third-country citizen having the right to legal aid in Luxembourg in accordance with an international treaty.
In order to determine your resources, your gross income is taken into account, as well as the resources of the persons you live together with. Besides your insufficient financial resources, you may also be given legal aid for other serious reasons, concerning your social, family or material situation.
How can I get protection, if I am in danger?
There are no specific protection measures during the trial.
At the hearings, defendants are seated near the lawyers, while you, as a witness or civil claimant, would sit at the back of the courtroom, so there will be no direct contact between you and the defendant.
How can I claim damages from the offender or receive compensation from the State?
In order to claim damages from the offender, you have to participate in the proceedings as a civil claimant. If you are joining the proceedings during the hearing, you have to do so by way of a declaration, co-signed by the court clerk, or by a submission to the court. During the oral arguments, you and your lawyer argue for the defendant’s conviction and for the reparation of the harm you have suffered.
You can also claim compensation from the State. Please consult the factsheet on compensation to crime victims in Luxembourg (available in English, French, German and other languages) of the European Judicial Network.
Are there opportunities to reach settlement/conciliation or to start mediation between the offender and myself?
Mediation is not possible once public prosecution has begun.
I am a foreigner. How are my rights and interests protected?
If you are a foreigner, you can, in particular, benefit from the following additional rights:
- to have an interpreter free of charge if you do not speak any of Luxembourg’s official languages: Luxembourgish, French and German;
- to have legal aid free of charge if you have insufficient financial resources and you are a foreign citizen authorised to settle in the country, a citizen of an EU Member State or a third-country citizen having the right to legal aid in Luxembourg in accordance with an international treaty.
- Criminal Investigation Code (Code d’Instruction Criminelle) – in French
- Law of 12 March 1984 on the indemnification of victims of violent crimes resulting in bodily harm and the deterrence of fraudulent insolvability (Loi modifiée du 12 mars 1984 relative à l’indemnisation de certaines victimes de dommage corporels résultant d’une infraction et à la répression de l’insolvabilité frauduleuse) – in French
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