Council on Law Enforcement looks into methods employed for victim assistance by the Criminal Justice

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On Tuesday April 23, 2013, member of the Council on Law Enforcement, Mr. Franklin Richards presented a copy of a completed report to Minister of Justice, Mr. Roland Duncan. The report entitled "Victims Assistance in St. Maarten" looked at the "methods employed by the criminal justice system for helping the victims of crime".

The council stated that in May 2012, the parliament of St. Maarten adopted a new criminal code known as the Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP), which is "currently being reformed". These amendments have improved the legal position of victims in many ways. However, the Council claimed that these laws "fall short of the level of protection for victims of crime as recommended by the United Nations.

The report further stated that "much to its satisfaction, it has found that within the criminal justice system, the position of victims has gained considerable attention lately’. The Minister of Justice, in deciding that an Office for Victim Support must be established in St. Maarten, has taken an important step". It is the Council’s opinion that such an office could very well raise the support and assistance for victims to a new level.

As its starting point, the Council used recommendations as stated in the United Nations declaration, "Basic Principles of the Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power", on the fundamental rights of victims of crime. These recommendations were also compared to other "relevant statutory laws of St. Maarten. According to the report, the Council has also used these recommendations as a standard to assess procedures for victim support

"The Council hopes that the establishment of the Office for Victim Support and the amendment of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP) will be effected without delay and that the government of St. Maarten will provide proper funding, as these are of the utmost importance. The Council is of the opinion that the society of St. Maarten in general and the victims of crime in particular deserve this"

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