Pity victims of crimes prosecuted before military tribunals in Canada

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EMPOWERMENT

OF VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT

Whose crimes are prosecuted before    service tribunals

  MARGINALIZATION

OF VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT

Whose crimes are prosecuted before service tribunals

Chapter 53, Title 10 of the US Unified Code of Military Justice now provides for the appointment of Special Victims’ Counsel for certain sex-related offences. The amendment allows for legal counsel to be assigned for the purposes of accompanying the victim to any proceeding taken under the UCMJ, advising the victim about his/her own criminal liability in relation to the acts complained of, and advising the victim about rights, benefits, and services that are afforded to victims under the governing law and policy.  This represents a real advancement in law which empowers victims of crime.

 

The Canadian Victims Bill of Rights enacted on July 23, 2015 provides victims (and members of their families) with a number of rights including: a) Right to Information; b) Right to Protection; c) Right of Participation; and, d) Right to Restitution. However, a victim of crime which is investigated or prosecuted under the Code of Service Discipline and service tribunals is EXCLUDED from the protection offered by the Charter. These victims are, for all intents and purposes, treated as second-class.  It is embarrassing to find out that Parliament has yet to amend this act to address this injustice.

 

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