(Dec. 3, 2009) On November 26, 2009, the Greek Minister of Justice, Transparency, and Human Rights introduced a new law in order to transpose into the Greek legal system European Directive 2004/80/EC. The purpose of the proposed law is to offer compensation to those individuals who are subject to intentional crimes of violence that are committed either in Greece or in the territory of another European Union Member State.
A “crime of violence” is defined as any unlawful act committed by the use of physical violence; it is punished with imprisonment.
The Greek state is obliged to provide compensation to the victim of such crimes if:
· the perpetrator lacks the necessary financial means to provide compensation;
· the identity of the perpetrator remains unverified; or
· the perpetrator cannot be charged because of either a lapse of time or the mental incapacity of the perpetrator.
The amount of compensation covers financial losses directly linked to the violent crime, including medical expenses, hospitalization, and funeral costs. No provision is made for compensation for psychological damage.
The victim is not entitled to receive compensation if:
· the crime was between members of a criminal organization, gang, or terrorist organization;
· the victim intentionally failed to file or delayed filing a report within the five-day time limit and consequently the victim hindered the process of identifying the perpetrator; or
· requesting compensation would constitute abuse of a right.
The proposed law also provides for the establishment of a three-member Committee on Compensation, which will function within the Ministry of Justice and be tasked with handling the applications for compensation. The law, once it is adopted, will have retroactive effect and will apply to those who became victims after January 1, 2006. (Ministry of Justice, Transparency, and Human Rights, Nomoschedia [Bills of Law], http://www.ministryofjustice.gr/files/6-11-09-sxedio_nomou_apozimiosi.pd
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