LDP submits proposal for law to help victims of crime

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The Liberal Democratic Party submitted to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Tuesday a policy proposal seeking governmental support for crime victims that calls for the enactment of a law to underscore the basic rights of victims.

Asserting that it is the government’s duty to help victims recover, the party proposed that the government provide them with financial, medical and psychological assistance.

It also recommended that victims or their families should be more informed of what is going on or play larger roles during investigation and trial procedures.

The proposal says that information on the indictment of people accused of crimes, court rulings associated with them, their correctional state and release from prison should be promptly be disclosed to their victims.

It also says that the criminal justice system should be reformed so that victims’ views will be reflected in trial proceedings.

The party members plan to submit the bill aimed at securing the rights of crime victims during an extraordinary Diet session to be convened this fall.

The Justice Ministry and the Japan Federation of Bar Associations have also been discussing measures to help victims recover from crime-related damages, as well as steps aimed at expanding their rights in crime investigations or trials.

The National Association of Crime Victims and Surviving Families, one of the most vocal groups representing crime victims, submitted a petition carrying 167,152 signatures to Justice Minister Daizo Nozawa on Tuesday, demanding an even greater expansion of victims’ rights than that outlined in the LDP proposal.

The group, which has submitted petitions carrying a total 557,215 signatures, asked the minister to give victims rights equivalent to those of prosecutors during trials and to create a system to combine the procedures of a criminal trial and related damages suits.