Pre-trial stage

The pre-trial stage is the part of criminal proceedings between opening of the case and the start of the court proceedings. During the pre-trial stage, the police or the prosecutor lead your case.

The pre-trial stage consists two of parts: the investigation stage and the prosecution stage. The decision to grant you official victim status is also usually taken during the pre-trial stage.

Decision on victim’s status

If you want to appeal a decision refusing to grant you the status of a victim, you can do that but only up till the beginning of the trial. Depending on who took the decision, you can appeal it to:

  • the supervising prosecutor if the decision was taken by the investigator
  • a higher prosecutor, if the decision was taken by the prosecutor

Investigation stage

The investigation stage is the first stage of the criminal proceedings. This is when the police are trying to establish what happened in the case. It will usually be carried out by the police or in exceptional cases by another special institution, for example, the prosecutor or a specialized anti-corruption unit. The investigator is responsible for conducting the investigation during the initial stage and therefore all complaints about the actions of the members of the investigation team should be addressed to the investigator. 

example If you think that the actions of an expert have violated your rights then you should submit a complaint to the investigator in charge of your case. 

If you think that your rights have been violated by certain actions or decisions of the investigator in charge of the case, you should submit a complaint to the supervising prosecutor. 

example if the investigator has refused to allow you to participate in some of the investigative actions without giving reasons for such a decision, you can submit a complaint to the supervising prosecutor.

Prosecution stage

The prosecution stage is the second stage of the criminal procedure. At this stage, the case is prepared for court and it starts with the bringing of official charges against the accused. During the prosecution stage, the prosecutor is responsible for the case. If you think that certain actions or decisions of the prosecutor are unlawful and violate your rights, you should submit a complaint to a higher-ranking public prosecutor. If you do not know who the higher-ranking prosecutor is, you can also write to the Prosecutor General’s Office, which will forward your complaint to the responsible prosecutor. 

example If the prosecutor has denied you access to the part of the case file, which relates to the crime from which you have suffered, you should submit a complaint to a higher-ranking prosecutor or to the Prosecutor General’s Office.

Procedures and time limits

All decisions that can be appealed must contain information about the procedure and the time-limits for their appeal. It is very important to observe the time limits allowed for all types of claims. Decisions of the investigator or the prosecutor may be appealed within 10 days of the date that you received the decision. 

If you want to complain about certain actions of the investigator or the prosecutor, you should submit the complaint within 10 days of the day you found out about that specific action.

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