The Government yesterday tabled a Bill in Parliament to ensure the protection of witnesses and victims of crimes. The Bill titled, ‘Assistance to and Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses’ was presented by Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem.
The objectives of the Bill are to set put, uphold and enforce the rights and entitlements of victims of crimes and witnesses and provide a mechanism to promote, protect, enforce and exercise such rights and entitlements.
It provides for the payment of compensation to victims of crime in consideration of the expenses incurred as a result of the offence committed and his participation in any judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings before a court or Commission, pertaining to the alleged offence or an alleged infringement of a fundamental right or a violation of a human right.
Under the provisions of the Bill, witnesses will be entitled to receive from investigational, quasi-judicial and judicial authorities fair and respectful treatment with due regard to his dignity and privacy. Witnesses will also be protected against harassment, intimidation, and coercion for volunteering to make a statement during an investigation or for providing testimony in a court or before a Commission, relating to the alleged commission of an offence or an alleged infringement of a fundamental right or a violation of a human right. (The Island)