U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Role and Position of Victims of Crime in the Dutch Criminal Law

NCJ Number
International Review of Penal Law Volume: 73 Issue: 1 Dated: 2002 Pages: 233-257
Sam Stolwijk
Date Published
25 pages
This article discusses the legal position of the victim in Dutch criminal law and procedure.
A basic assumption in Dutch law is the right of the defense to question in court all witnesses considered of interest to their defense. The presence and questioning of the victim-witness in court are not necessary conditions for the use of his statement as evidence. The rules of best evidence, which implies that only statements that are given in front of the judge are lawful, is not in force in the Netherlands. The judge cannot easily ignore the demand to hear the witness the defense is asking for. The judge can refuse questioning of a victim-witness in court if he believes it is not useful to the case because the witness is untraceable; when a refusal of questioning is not in conflict with the interests of the defense; or when a confrontation with the accused will be damaging for the victim. A victim of a crime has the right to be compensated for the damage caused by the accused. This damage can be recouped by civil or criminal law procedure. Compensation can be made for war crimes or crimes against humanity, slavery, trade in women and children, and discrimination. Victims of discriminatory treatment have the possibility to obtain compensation by financial compensation or by restoration of the legal situation. The Netherlands is involved in the development of tools to combat the violation of human rights and to punish and compensate the victims.