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Protection of Vulnerable Victims and their Standing in Criminal Proceedings

Prague, 17 March 2009 – 18 March 2009
, Czech (simultaneous interpretation)
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On the occasion of the expected review of existing EU legislation on standing of victims in criminal proceedings as well as planned revisions of Council Framework Decision on combating the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography and Council Framework Decision on combating trafficking in human beings, which should be submitted by the European Commission in 2009, the Czech Presidency considers it appropriate to discuss and assess the level of protection of victims within the EU.

According to the Presidency, special attention should be given to protection of children (in the framework of a child-friendly justice) and other vulnerable victims, e.g. victims of trafficking in human beings, who are, in the course of criminal proceedings, often subject to continuous secondary victimisation and who, due to their vulnerable position, are a priori in a disadvantaged position, that could hamper comprehensive and adequate opportunities for them to claim their rights.

The objective of the conference is to review the current framework and desirable future improvements by the practitioners from the EU Members States. The aim of the Presidency is to draw relevant conclusions from such debates in order to contribute to defining proper international standards with a cross?cutting character, bearing in mind that crime victimisation often exceeds purely national level and is also an important issue to be dealt with at international level, in particular as regards use of advanced communication technologies.

The conference will include special workshops that will target on practical needs, possible improvements of the standing of vulnerable victims in the European Union and the subsequent exchange of best practices. It shall focus in particular on the classification of vulnerable victims and their rights in criminal proceedings, on minimal standards required as a prerequisite to the admissibility of testimony as evidence in criminal proceedings in order to identify problems and barriers to judicial cooperation in criminal matters caused by different national systems, on practical forms of protection against secondary victimisation, as well as seek to explore the methods how to facilitate the admissibility of testimonies by vulnerable victims in the trial.

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