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Article Netherlands: Improvement of Victims' Position in Criminal Procedure

(Feb. 11, 2011) On January 1, 2011, the Act for the Improvement of the Position of Victims in Criminal Procedure entered into effect in the Netherlands. The new legislation enhances the rights of victims and their relatives and stipulates that victims have an independent status in criminal procedure law, with their own rights and powers. (Press Release, Ministry of Justice and Security, Independent Position for Victims in Criminal Procedure (Dec. 27, 2010),

One key feature of the Act is on enhanced provision of information to the victim. Henceforth, the victim must be informed in writing should the police decide not to trace the offender and if a police report is sent to the Public Prosecution Service. Victims will also now have the right to inspect case documents, to request that the public prosecutor add documents to the case file, and to appeal to a court against the public prosecutor's refusal to allow such an inspection or to add the documents. The Act also extends the group of victims to be informed upon the release of an offender who has served time. Current legislation stipulates that victims will be so notified “mainly if the offender was sentenced to detention under a hospital order (TBS) or detention in a youth custodial institution or juvenile offenders institution,” but as of January 1, 2011, they will also be informed when the offender had undergone a prison sentence. (Id.)

Another significant aspect of the Act is the new advance compensation scheme. The Act stipulates that victims who have been awarded damages are to “receive the full amount of their compensation not later than eight months after the sentence has become final.” (Id.) The state is to pay the remaining amount due should the offender fail within that time frame to pay the full amount, with the Central Fine Collection Agency (CJIB) to recover the missing amount from the offender. (Id.)

In terms of new rights and powers, the Act provides that “victims may decide for themselves which rights and services they will use and will receive any necessary (legal, practical and socio-psychological) assistance from Victim Support Netherlands.” (Id.; see also Ministry of Security and Justice, SLACHTOFFERS EN JUSTITIE [Victims and Justice],
(last visited Feb. 9, 2011) [sets forth the relevant amended provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Criminal Code]; Besluit van 23 november 2010 tot wijziging van het Besluit van 13 juli 2010 tot vaststelling van het tijdstip van inwerkingtreding van de Wet van 17 december 2009 tot wijziging van het Wetboek van Strafvordering, het Wetboek van Strafrecht en de Wet schadefonds geweldsmisdrijven ter versterking van de positie van het slachtoffer in het strafproces [Decree of 23 November 2010 on Amending the Decree of 13 July 2010 on Adoption of the Time of Entry into Force of the Law of 17 December 2009 on Amendment of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Criminal Code, and the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund Law for Enhancement of the Position of the Victim in Criminal Procedure] 792 STAATSBLAD VAN HET KONINKRIJK DER NEDERLANDEN [GAZETTE OF THE KINGDOM OF THE NETHERLANDS] (2010),

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Zeldin, Wendy. Netherlands: Improvement of Victims' Position in Criminal Procedure. 2011. Web Page.

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Zeldin, W. (2011) Netherlands: Improvement of Victims' Position in Criminal Procedure. [Web Page] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

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Zeldin, Wendy. Netherlands: Improvement of Victims' Position in Criminal Procedure. 2011. Web Page. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.