IPRT Submission on Heads of Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Bill 2015
22nd September 2015
IPRT made a submission to the Joint Committee on
Justice, Defence and Equality for written submissions in relation to General Scheme
of the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Bill 2015.
IPRT broadly welcomes the
implementation of the EU Victims' Rights Directive as a positive step forward
for reform of Irish law.
Recognising the harm caused to victims of crime is a central function of the
criminal justice system. IPRT believes that it is necessary to protect and
promote the human rights of everyone within the penal system, and that this is
possible through careful scrutiny and implementation of the proposed Directive.
View the IPRT submission here.
- IPRT believes
that the Victims’ Rights Directive is a positive move in the development of
victims’ rights in Ireland. Domestic legislation on victims’ rights and
entitlements is urgently needed, considering there is currently no binding
legislation in regards to victims’ entitlements in Ireland.
- IPRT believes the
protection of victims’ rights is neither incompatible nor detrimental to the
rights of sentenced persons.
- In the transposition
of the Directive into Irish law, the general principles of equality and
non-discrimination, access to justice and due process must be respected.
- The transposition
must take into account all the requirements of the Directive, including paragraph
12 which sets out that the rights set out in the Directive are without
prejudice to the rights of the offender.
- Despite IPRT’s
strong endorsement of the Directive, we recommend Government take a cautious
approach to any proposals to extend provisions beyond those laid out in the Directive.
- A detailed human
rights impact assessment should be carried out in advance of the extension of
any such proposals in order to avoid potential breaches of Ireland’s national
and international human rights obligations.
- As recommended by
the Commission, implementation of the Directive will benefit from involving all
relevant stakeholders, including civil society.
- The transposition
of the Directive should be informed by international evidence and best practice
of what works to support victims while also supporting rehabilitation and
reduction in reoffending.