Highlights of Crime Victim Protection Act 2075: Victim Law in Nepal

Crime Victim Protection Act 2075 was introduced on Ashoj 2075 to guarantee the protection of Crime Victims in Nepal. It consists of Seven Chapters and Fifty-Four Sections.

The Preamble of the Act states that the act has made necessary provisions for the rights and interests of the victims and compensation for the damages faced by them as a result of the Offence.

The Act has been enacted for Social Rehabilitation and Compensation while ensuring the rights of Crime Victims.

Definition of Key Terms

Victim of first grade

It refers to a person who has died or suffered harm directly as a result of a criminal offense. It includes individuals who have not participated in the offense but have died or suffered harm in the following situations:

(1) While attempting to prevent the commission of the offense,

(2) While providing reasonable assistance and rescuing someone when an offense is being committed against them,

(3) While trying to apprehend the offender or supporting the competent authority in making the arrest.

Victim of second grade

It includes a person who has not committed or been involved in the offense against the victim of first grade but has incurred harm due to witnessing such an offense.  It includes individuals who have sustained harm due to their awareness of an offense against the victim of first grade, including:

(1) Guardians of first-grade victims,

(2) Cases where the first-grade victim is a minor,

(3) Instances where the person suffering harm is not involved in the offense.

Not Victim

Individuals who have sustained harm or died in the following conditions aren’t victims in the eyes of the Law in Nepal:

  • (a) While taking actions to protect their own or another person’s body, life, property, or chastity under the doctrine of self-defense as per existing law,
  • (b) While carrying out duties as a security employee, assigned or deployed by competent authority in accordance with existing law,
  • (c) While acting as an investigating authority with jurisdiction under existing law during an investigation,
  • (d) In situations where criminal liability is imposed under existing law.

Rights and Duties of Victims

Right to Fair Treatment

The Victims have been provided the right to decent, fair, and respectful treatment during the process of Criminal Justice.

Right against Discrimination

Victims cannot be discriminated against based on factors like religion, race, gender, caste, ethnicity, origin, language, marital status, age, disability, or ideology. However, special treatment may be provided to minors, senior citizens, or individuals with disabilities when necessary.

Right to Privacy

The victims of the following offenses have the right to privacy during the investigation, prosecution, and proceedings of the case:

  • (a) Rape,
  • (b) Incest,
  • (c) Human trafficking,
  • (d) Sexual harassment and similar criminal offenses prescribed in the Nepal Gazette Notice.

Right to Information on Investigation

The victims are entitled to the following information when demanded:

  • (a) Necessary medical, psychological, psychiatric, social, legal, or other support services, as provided by the law.
  • (b) Information about the prosecuting body, including its name and full address.
  • (c) The name, office, and contact number of the investigating authority.
  • (d) Updates on the progress of the investigation.
  • (e) Information about the suspect, including their name, age, address, and appearance.
  • (f) Details about the suspect’s arrest, if applicable.
  • (g) Statements made by the suspect or others related to the offense during the investigation.
  • (h) Information if the suspect has fled from custody or has been re-arrested.
  • (i) Explanations if the investigating authority releases a person held in custody during the investigation.
  • (j) General information regarding the investigation and legal processes related to the offense as required by the law.

Right to Information on Prosecution

  • (a) If a decision is made not to pursue a legal case, the victim is entitled to know the grounds and reasons for this decision.
  • (b) When a decision is taken to initiate a case against one person but not against another
  • (c) If a decision is made to proceed with a legal case, the victim can request a certified copy of the charge sheet.
  • (d) Victims can access general information about the legal proceedings as required by the law.
  • (e) If the victim is an eyewitness to the offense, they are entitled to information about their role as a witness.
  • (f) In situations where the accused, who was on the run when the charge sheet was filed, is arrested or voluntarily surrenders.
  • (g) If the government decides to withdraw a case related to the offense, the victim has the right to know the reasons for this decision.

Right to Information on Judicial Proceedings

  • (a) If the accused must remain in detention during the trial, details of their detention.
  • (b) If the accused is not required to stay in detention for the trial or has been released from detention, information on this.
  • (c) The date, location, and time of court hearings.
  • (d) If the accused applies for release on bail, guarantee, or with conditions, details about the application and the resulting order.
  • (e) Information on any terms and conditions set when the accused is released on bail, guarantee, or conditions for the safety of the victim or their relatives.
  • (f) If the accused appeals a decision about their release, the notice of the appeal and the outcome of that appeal.
  • (g) If the accused escapes from detention and is rearrested or voluntarily returns, details of the circumstances.
  • (h) Information about the accused or offender’s release from detention or prison on supervision, any changes to the supervision conditions, and when these changes take effect.
  • (i) Whether the accused or offender has complied with the conditions of supervision.
  • (j) If the accused or offender is transferred from prison according to the law, details of the transfer.
  • (k) Details about the punishment imposed on the offender, especially if it involves imprisonment, and the expected release date.
  • (l) Information if the offender absconds before serving their sentence or is re-arrested.
  • (m) If the punishment for the offender is pardoned, postponed, changed, or if the offender receives clemency under the law before serving the sentence, the details of these changes.
  • (n) If a person, against whom a case has not been filed, violates the conditions of supervision, the process for victims to make a complaint, and to whom to address this complaint.
  • (o) Name and location of the prison where the offender is serving their sentence.
  • (p) Information about alternatives to incarceration, such as probation, parole, community service, open prison, or similar programs.
  • (q) Whether the government has appealed a decision related to the offense.
  • (r) If an order is issued to summon a respondent in response to a defendant’s appeal against a judgment, details about this order.
  • (s) The decision made at the appellate level in response to an appeal against a judgment and its consequences.
  • (t) If the offender requests changes to the terms and conditions of supervision or the revocation of a supervision order under the law, the decision on this request.
  • (u) If the accused or offender dies while in detention or prison, information about the circumstances.
  • (v) If the government of Nepal sends a foreign accused or offender out of the country or deports them to another state or government according to the law, details about this action.

Right to Express Opinion

  • (a) When pressing charges against the suspect for the relevant offense.
  • (b) When deciding not to initiate a case against the suspect.
  • (c) When engaging in plea bargaining with the accused concerning the charges as permitted by the law.
  • (e) When seeking clemency for the potential punishment according to the prevailing law.
  • (f) When adding additional claims to the charge sheet, as required by the prevailing law.
  • (g) When preparing a pre-sentencing report before determining the offender’s sentence in line with the law.
  • (h) When specifying the sentence for the offender according to the prevailing law.
  • (i) When investigating assess whether the accused possesses the mental or physical capacity to commit the offense as mandated by the prevailing law.
  • (j) When deciding to enroll the accused or offender in a diversion program, as permitted by the law.

Right to appoint Legal Practitioner

The Victim has an inherent right to choose a particular legal practitioner during the Criminal Law Proceedings if desired.

Right of Attendance and Participation in Hearing

Victims can attend and express their views in court proceedings of the offense. However, if the victims themselves are the witnesses, they can be excluded from certain proceedings for their testimony.

Right to Stay in a Chamber During a Hearing

The Court can provide a separate room for the victim to stay away from the accused during the hearing of the offense. If a separate room isn’t feasible, the court must guarantee no contact of the victim with the accused or their witnesses.

Right to have Property Returned

Investigating Authorities must return any property taken during the investigation process after its completion. The Court may order the return of the property if deemed reasonable for disputes over Ownership or Possession.

Right to make Written Application

If the government has the right to make an application or appeal against a court order or decision, the victim can make a written request to the relevant authority. The application must be made within fifteen days of receiving information about the order or decision.

Right to get Information on Compensation

Victims are entitled to receive appropriate information and guidance on receiving compensation. The Government of Nepal and the prosecuting legal practitioners must act on behalf of the victim for compensation.

Right to Compensation and Rehabilitation

Victims have the right to receive compensation for the damage they have suffered.

Right to Make Application or Appeal

If the Victim is dissatisfied with the decision of the court, they have the authority to draft an application or appeal. It must be filed within 15 days of receiving the information about the order or decision.

Victim Impact Report

Chapter 3 Section 25 has provisioned for the submission of the Victim Impact Report. The Report, which can be submitted to the prosecuting authority, the Government of Nepal, includes a description and details of the damage or impact directly caused to the victim as a result of the offense.

The Report allows the victim to detail the consequences of the crime including the sustained Physical, Emotional, Psychological, Social, and Financial Harm.

Victim Compensation

Section 29 of the Crime Victim Protection Act has provisioned that for immediate medical treatment, the court can issue interim compensation.

When an accused is convicted of an offense, they are required to pay the compensation within 35 days of the court’s Judgement.

If the offender fails to pay the required amount, the government can seize the assets of the offender within 60 Days of the Judgement of the Court.

Compensation Amount

The Court must consider the following factors to determine the compensation amount for the victim:

  1. Expenses for medical, psychological, or psychiatric counseling.
  2. Medical treatment expenses.
  3. Unexpected travel expenses.
  4. Legal practitioner fees.
  5. Loss of personal capacity.
  6. Financial losses.
  7. Costs for repairing or replacing damaged personal property.
  8. Lost income-generating capacity.
  9. Negative effects on the victim’s physical appearance.
  10. Physical, intellectual, sexual, or reproductive capacity damage.
  11. Damage to social, cultural, or family prestige in cases of rape.
  12. Expenses related to pregnancy resulting from rape.
  13. Medical treatment expenses for abortion.
  14. Expenses incurred to protect against additional offenses due to a special condition.
  15. Mental or emotional damage.
  16. Other factors are based on the nature and impact of the damage.
  17. Guardian’s support was lost for minor children.
  18. Not to be Provided Compensation

In the following circumstances, compensation cannot be provided to the victim:

  1. Individuals who commit, attempt, conspire, or assist in the offense.
  2. Those who claim compensation as primary victims when involved in another offense.
  3. Family members of a deceased person going to commit an offense.
  4. Those eligible for compensation under third-party insurance laws for motor vehicle accidents, unless intentional harm occurred.
  5. Secondary victims with information that the primary victim is involved in another offense.
  6. Persons receiving free government-provided medical treatment with a possibility of recovery.
  7. Victims in detention are sentenced to imprisonment for an offense committed against them, excluding harm due to imprisonment for inability to pay fines.
  8. Individuals convicted of offenses against the State or organized crimes.
  9. Those who provoke offenses against themselves.
  10. Individuals not cooperating with law enforcement, making false statements, or protecting offenders.
  11. Persons receiving or likely to receive government financial support or compensation for the same offense.
  12. Those considered unjust to receive compensation.
  13. Individuals who voluntarily decline compensation.
  14. Those who have not paid court-ordered fines or amounts owed to the government.
  15. Cases of false complaints.
  16. Victims where the perpetrator might benefit from compensation due to a family relationship, except in specific conditions.

Compensation Levy to Victim Fund

Offenders must pay a compensation levy to the Victim Fund based on the duration of their punishment:

(a) For sentences of less than one year: 200 rupees

(b) For sentences of one to two years: 400 rupees

(c) For sentences of two to three years: 600 rupees

(d) For sentences of three to four years: 800 rupees

(e) For sentences of four to five years: 1,000 rupees

(f) For sentences of five to eight years: 1,300 rupees

(g) For sentences of eight to twelve years: 1,800 rupees

(h) For sentences above twelve years but below life imprisonment: 2,200 rupees

(i) For life imprisonment: 2,800 rupees

Victim Protection Suggestion Committee

Chapter 6 Section 44 of the Crime Victim Protection Act has established a Victim Protection Suggestion Committee for the protection of the rights and interests of the victims of Crime.

Members

It includes the following Members:

  • (a) Attorney General (Coordinator)
  • (b) Chairperson of the Nepal Law Commission
  • (c) Secretary of the Government of Nepal, Ministry of Finance
  • (d) Secretary of the Government of Nepal, Ministry of Law, Justice, and Parliamentary Affairs
  • (e) Inspector General of Police, Nepal Police
  • (f) One expert designated by the Government from individuals with significant contributions to victimology or criminal justice.

Functions of Victim Protection Suggestion Committee

(a) To recommend improvements and revisions to existing laws for the protection of victims’ rights and interests to the Government of Nepal.

(b) To propose policy measures to the Government of Nepal for the security of victims

(c) To recommend that Nepal become a party to international treaties or agreements related to victims’ rights

(d) To suggest to the Government of Nepal the operation of specific services as needed.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and shall not be construed as legal advice, advertisement, personal communication or solicitation. Specific advice of professionals must be sought for each case.

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