Justice system should support victims of crime

A parallel justice system facilitates judicial and administrative procedures to respond to the needs of victims, provides assistance, and protects privacy

By Adel Abdullah Humaid

Published: Thu 23 Jul 2020, 10:57 AM

Last updated: Thu 23 Jul 2020, 12:59 PM

It remains a widespread belief that criminal litigation is not an absolute right of victims.
The victim remains the most affected party, and is in fact at the centre of justice system. In this regard, the theory of parallel justice for victims of crimes has emerged recently with a view of achieving greater equality for them. If the accused/offender has a criminal justice system, then why shouldn't the victims have a justice system to redress them? Parallel justice is a new framework for responding to crime in two separate and parallel pathways to justice, one for the victim and one for the offender. It is the response of both the state and the society to the criminal event.
The criminal justice agencies respond by trying to apprehend, prosecute, sanction, and eventually rehabilitate offenders. The supporters of parallel justice, on the other hand, call for other similar bodies to respond to the victims of those crimes by taking measures to care for them and help them to overcome the socio-economic and psychological conditions unjustly imposed upon them because of the crimes committed against them.
When a crime is committed, the offender who breaks the society's rules is faced by a societal response. The criminal justice agencies take known measures according to declared judicial systems, and the society follows up the legal measures taken against the offenders through various media and information systems, ensuring them their constitutional rights. On the other hand, the victim is caught in the middle, waiting and hearing the facts and stories told about the offender of the crime. Although the victim is the party who is most aware of the facts and details of the crime, nobody pays him/her any attention. So why doesn't the society respond to the victims according to a clearly defined and law regulated justice system that would enable them to reveal their information and defend themselves, in a way that the parallel justice system would support, care for and guarantee them their rights to justice and equality.
The restorative justice system is keen to apply the rules regulating the rights of the accused and victims in general, using specific mechanisms that may be limited to government agencies. The parallel justice system deals with the rights of victims and mobilises all governmental and civil society capabilities to ensure the availability of justice and fair treatment for victims included in the United Nations Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power. In particular, the parallel justice system facilitates judicial and administrative procedures to respond to the needs of victims, provides assistance, and protects privacy.
Adel Abdullah Humaid is Emirati writer and researcher, and member of the UAE Authors and Writers Union

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