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Defense of the victims

The defense of victims is nowadays a central element of criminal practice.

Although, in French criminal procedure, the trial is mainly between the Public Prosecutor (i.e., the Prosecutor, who represents Society), and the suspected person, complainants now have an important role.

It is their responsibility to accompany the Public Prosecutor in proving the offence when the facts are disputed.

Moreover, it is their responsibility to demonstrate their prejudice  so that the court can effectively order compensation for their loss.

Maître Alexandre-M. BRAUN, when acting as a lawyer for victims of crime, advises and defends his clients in order to have the reality of the crimes committed recognized, and to have their fair compensation ensured.

Traditionally, the prosecutor has the power to initiate criminal proceedings. However, the victim has the possibility to initiate such proceedings, using specific legal techniques.

An extension of the investigation, the pre-trial phase gathers evidence and prepares for trial. The victim has rights, answers questions, and can make requests for investigation, so that he or she can truly be a player.

The Correctional Court is competent to judge offenders. Victims can be represented as civil parties in order to participate in the debates, make their voices heard and assert their rights.

The Assize Court is competent to judge the authors of crimes. A criminal trial is always solemn. Certainly, the personality of the accused, and the facts of which he is suspected, is central. But the judicial truth often emerges from his confrontation with the victims.

The Commission for the Compensation of Victims of Crime allows victims to be compensated, under certain conditions, even when the perpetrator has not been identified or is insolvent.

The defendant, the plaintiff and the prosecutor can appeal a first instance judgment. The case is then referred to the Court of Appeal, a court before which it is essential to present a technical and legal argument.

Criminal mediation, as well as other alternative measures to prosecution, are to be preferred when they ensure the protection of everyone’s rights.

Appearance on prior recognition of guilt is the French plea of guilty. This procedure only applies in certain specific cases.

French criminal procedure is traditionally marked by the notion of opportunity for prosecution, after which criminal proceedings are carried out by the Public Prosecutor.

Nevertheless, a certain number of techniques allow victims to be actors of the procedure and to assert their rights.

they can file a complaint with the police or the public prosecutor, and very often they must do so in order to bring the facts of which they are victims to the attention of the authorities.

After the case has been dismissed, or the prosecutor has remained silent, they can file a complaint with a civil action  for the purpose of directly referring the case to an investigating judge, who will conduct more complete investigations.

If their file is complete, in that they demonstrate both the offence of which they are victims and the identity of the perpetrator, they can refer the matter to the Correctional court by means of a direct summons.

In criminal matters, i.e. if they are victims of acts qualified as crimes by the law, they can refer the matter to the Investigating Judge without going through the simple complaint stage.

In all cases, when a case is brought before a court, they can constitute a civil party (by “action” if they initiated the proceedings, or by “intervention” following proceedings by the Public Prosecutor’s Office) to assert their position and request compensation for their loss.

The civil party’s lawyer accompanies them in this process in order to assert their rights.

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