New EU protection for crime victims
Victims of crime will be protected from harm and intimidation under a new European Union law, a human rights watchdog has claimed.
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) said t he Irish Government has two years to enforce the Victims Directive, which will also give people access to information, services and compensation.
Mark Kelly, ICCL director, said the measures will give victims of crime new legal rights.
"The ICCL has campaigned for many years to ensure that victims of crime get a better deal in Ireland," he said.
"The recently-adopted EU directive, once properly implemented, will greatly enhance victim protection and support throughout the Irish criminal justice system.
"For example, the directive includes obligations on Ireland to protect victims, especially vulnerable victims, from harm and intimidation .
"Respecting the human rights of victims, without undermining the core procedural rights of people suspected of crimes is a cornerstone of a fair criminal justice system."
The directive was adopted at European level last November and must be implemented by all national governments by November 2015.
A booklet on understanding the new legislation was launched by the Justicia European Rights Network, which is a Europe-wide network of organisations working on criminal justice and victims' rights issues, by the ICCL in Dublin.