Title

The (human) rights of crime victims do not necessarily infringe the rights of accused and convicted persons

Document Type

Book chapter

Publication details

Garkawe, SB 2008, 'The (human) rights of crime victims do not necessarily infringe the rights of accused and convicted persons', in Wing-Cheong Chan (ed.), Support for victims of crime in Asia, Routledge, Abingdon, UK, pp. 51-80. ISBN: 9780415435857

Abstract

Conclusion: After examining the background to the crime victims' movement in common law developed nations, this chapter argued that victims' rights are in fact human rights. It provided five arguments in favour of this proposition. Accepting that victims' rights are human rights implies that there is nothing unusual about balancing their rights with other human rights holders, in this case, those of accused and convicted persons. The chapter then examined two types of victims' rights that may affect the rights of accused and convicted persons - protection rights and participation rights. Two examples of each were given, showing how policy-makers and courts can, by the use of appropriate safeguards, fairly balance the rights of crime victims with those of accused and convicted persons. Showing that victims' rights are human rights and that they can coexist with defendants' rights prevents conservative politicians and criminal justice professionals from exploiting crime victims for their own ends. This has important lessons for those governments in Asia that might be thinking of embarking on the path of providing crime victims with rights, or who are thinking of increasing their rights from those that already have been established. Provided that victims' rights are introduced and/or expanded with care and precision, they should not erode civil liberties, and such steps should be regarded as a very positive development for Asian criminal justice systems.

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