The Ministry of Law, Justice, and Parliamentary Affairs has framed the Crime Victim Protection Rules-2021 for effective implementation of the Crime Victim Protection Act-2018.

According to a notice published in the Nepal Gazette on June 14, the rules were developed after consultation with a six-member Crime Victim Protection Recommendation Committee formed by the government.

The act has been almost ineffective for the past three years due to delay in formulation of rules.

The rules ensure the right to justice for crime victims, criminal investigation, adjudication of cases, compensation and social rehabilitation as stipulated in the act.

The rules require the concerned police office or district administration office to make appropriate security arrangements for crime victims on the basis of analysis of security threat to him/her.

The act defines the victim as 'the concerned victim directly affected by the crime and his/her family'.

The victim and his/her family shall have the right to be safe from potential attack and threat from crime suspects, perpetrators, defendants and their witnesses. The victim may also hire separate lawyer during the criminal justice process if he/she desires to do so. The rules mention the procedures to be adopted for providing compensation to the victim.

The victim is entitled to compensation, including medical treatment and payment made to lawyer, on the basis of harm inflicted on him/her. The compensation shall be borne by the perpetrator(s).

In addition to guaranteeing compensation to the victim, the rules also stipulate provisions to minimise the adverse impacts of crimes on him/her. As per the act, any victim shall have the right to enjoy decent, fair and dignified behaviour during the criminal justice process. He/she shall not be discriminated on the ground of his/her religion, colour, gender, caste, ethnicity, origin, language, marital status, age, physical or mental unsoundness, disability and ideology, among others," the act states.

Similarly, the victims of rape, incestuous rape, human trafficking and molestation shall have the right to privacy during criminal investigation, prosecution and court proceedings. No one shall disclose the identity of such victims in any form whatsoever. The concerned investigating officer or agency is required to provide medical, psychological, psychosocial and legal counselling, and progress report of investigation and prosecution to the victim as per his/ her desire.

Even if the investigating officer releases the crime suspect because it is not necessary to continue keeping him/her in custody, information thereof shall also be provided to the victim.

The prosecuting agency shall also provide the victim with all the necessary information about the prosecution against the crime suspect, progress report and court proceedings. Similarly, the concerned court shall inform the victim whether the crime suspect was sent to jail or not until the final verdict.

It shall also provide information to the victim regarding the jail term if he/she has been sentenced, name and address of the prison where he/she is doing time and other decisions of the court.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 8 2021, of The Himalayan Times.