If there is any danger to your life or health because of your testimony, the State is under an obligation to protect you. In that case you have the right to ask for special protection.
There are several situations in which you can ask for special protection:
- There has been an attack on your life or health or other interests as a result of your role in uncovering a crime.
- You have received real threats to your life or health or other interests as a result of your role in uncovering a crime.
- You have not received any real threats yet, but there are sufficient grounds to believe that your life, health or other interests may be in danger as a result of your role in uncovering a crime.
You may only ask for special protection if your testimony is used for uncovering a serious or particularly serious crime. However, if there is a real threat to your life and health because of your testimony in relation to a less serious crime, the State will still have to protect you.
If you are not protected, and as a result, you or other people close to you are attacked because of your testimony, this may, depending on the circumstances, violate your, or their, right to life or prohibition of inhuman treatment.
How to ask for protection
If you believe that you are not safe during criminal proceedings, you should request special protection from the person that is handling the case at that stage. This may be either the investigator, prosecutor or the court. Only the Prosecutor General or the court can grant you special protection. Therefore if the investigator or the prosecutor in charge of the case decide that you should be granted protection, he/she will send that suggestion to the Prosecutor General. If the official handling the case decides that you don’t need special protection, such refusal must contain sufficient reasoning.
If you were refused protection and you disagree with this decision, there are various avenues for appealing this decision:
- If the investigator or prosecutor in your case refused to suggest granting you special protection, you should appeal that decision to the Prosecutor General.
- If the decision was taken by the Prosecutor General according to the Criminal Procedure Law, you should appeal it to the Supreme Court (Augstākā tiesa).
- If the decision was taken by the court, you must file your appeal to a higher court. For example, a decision of the court of first instance to the court of appeal, and a decision of the court of appeal to the Supreme Court.
Types of protection
There are several types of special protection. Some of the special protection measures involve:
- ensuring protection by security guards
- a change of identity
- a change of residence or job
- insurance for the property of protected persons, etc.
The official who makes the decision to grant special protection to you also has the right to determine which type of protection is the most suitable for your situation.
Your private life must be protected during criminal proceedings. Photographs, videos or any other recordings of you taken during the investigation cannot be published in media without your permission. These materials can be published only if they are necessary for solving the crime. The publication of these materials without your permission and without justification may result in a violation of your right to a private life. Read more about the protection of your personal data, including your photos and videos.
Articles 110 (4), 347
Articles 6, 11, 16
Articles 93, 95, 96
Articles 2, 3, 8
Articles 6, 7, 17
20 April 2005
10 September 1997