Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 5

Criminal Justice System Related Abstracts

5 Provide Adequate Protection to Avoid Secondary Victimization: Ensuring the Rights of the Child Victims in the Criminal Justice System

Authors: Muthukuda Arachchige Dona Shiroma Jeeva Shirajanie Niriella

Abstract:

The necessity of protection of the rights of victims of crime is a matter of concerns today. In the criminal justice system, child victims who are subjected to sexual abuse/violence are more vulnerable than the other crime victims. When they go to the police to lodge the complaint and until the end of the court proceedings, these victims are re-victimized in the criminal justice system. The rights of the suspects, accused and convicts are recognized and guaranteed by the constitution under fair trial norm, contemporary penal laws where crime is viewed as an offence against the State and existing criminal justice system in many jurisdictions including Sri Lanka. In this backdrop, a reasonable question arises as to whether the existing criminal justice system, especially which follow the adversarial mode of judicial trial protect the fair trial norm in the criminal justice process. Therefore, this paper intends to discuss the rights of the sexually abused child victims in the criminal justice system in order to restore imbalance between the rights of the wrongdoer and victim and suggest legal reforms to strengthen their rights in the criminal justice system which is essential to end secondary victimization. The paper considers Sri Lanka as a sample to discuss this issue. The paper looks at how the child victims are marginalized in the traditional adversarial model of the justice process, whether the contemporary penal laws adequately protect the right of these victims and whether the current laws set out the provisions to provide sufficient assistance and protection to them. The study further deals with the important principles adopted in international human rights law relating to the protection of the rights of the child victims in sexual offences cases. In this research paper, rights of the child victims in the investigation, trial and post-trial stages in the criminal justice process will be assessed. This research contains an extensive scrutiny of relevant international standards and local statutory provisions. Case law, books, journal articles, government publications such as commissions’ reports under this topic are rigorously reviewed as secondary resources. Further, randomly selected 25 child victims of sexual offences from the decided cases in last two years, police officers from 5 police divisions where the highest numbers of sexual offences were reported in last two years and the judicial officers both Magistrates and High Court Judges from the same judicial zones are interviewed. These data will be analyzed in order to find out the reasons for this specific sexual victimization, needs of these victims in various stages of the criminal justice system, relationship between victimization and offending and the difficulties and problems that these victims come across in criminal justice system. The author argues that the child victims are considerably neglected and their rights are not adequately protected in the adversarial model of the criminal justice process.

Keywords: Criminal Justice System, International Standards, Sri Lanka, child victims of sexual violence, rights of child victims

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4 Who Killed Kalief? Examining the Effects of Solitary Confinement on Juvenile Detainees in the United States

Authors: Esther Baldwin

Abstract:

It is well settled that the use of solitary confinement can cause psychological and physical harm to detainees. For juveniles, who are more susceptible to irreparable harm due to their underdeveloped psyches, the risks are exacerbated. Despite these risks, across the United States juvenile detainees are regularly held in isolation for prolonged periods of time. This essay will examine the broad impact of solitary confinement on juvenile detainees while giving particular focus to the story of Kalief Browder, a juvenile awaiting trial on Rikers Island in New York for a period of three years, nearly two years of which were spent in solitary confinement. Although sadly, his story is not uncommon, Kalief’s story offers a unique perspective in that it provides first-hand insight on the effects of solitary confinement on juveniles. It is our hope that by sharing his story, we will demand better detention practices and policies for juveniles under correctional control in the United States.

Keywords: Criminal Justice System, Solitary Confinement, juveniles, Kalief browder

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3 The Consequence of Being Perceived as An 'Immodest Woman': The Kuwaiti Criminal Justice System’s Response to Allegations of Sexual Violence

Authors: Eiman Alqattan

Abstract:

Kuwaiti criminal justice system’s responses to allegations of sexual violence against women during the pre-trial process, suggesting that the system in Kuwait is affected by an ethos that is male dominated and patriarchal, and which results in prejudicial, unfair, and unequal treatment of female victims of serious sexual offenses. Data derived from qualitative semi-structured face-to-face interviews with four main groups of criminal justice system personnel in Kuwait (prosecutors, police investigators, police officers, and investigators) reveal the characteristics of a complaint of sexual violence that contribute to cases being either sent to court or dismissed. This proposed paper will suggest that Arab cultural views of women appear to influence and even shape the views, perceptions, and conduct of the interviewed Kuwaiti criminal justice system personnel regarding complaints of sexual violence made by citizens. Data from the interviews show how the image of the ‘modest woman’ that exists within Arabic cultural views and norms greatly contributes to shaping the characteristics of what the majority of the interviewed officials considered to be a ‘credible’ allegation of sexual violence. In addition, it is clear that the interviewees’ definitions of ‘modesty’ varied. Yet the problem is not only about the stereotypical perceptions of complainants or the consequences of those perceptions on the decision to send the case to court. These perceptions also affected the behaviours of criminal justice system personnel towards citizen complainants. When complainants’ allegations were questioned, investigators went as far as abusing the women verbally or physically, often in order to force them to withdraw the so-called ‘false’ complaint in order to protect the ‘real’ victim: the ‘innocent defendant’. The proposed presentation will discuss these police approaches to women and the techniques used in assessing the credibility of their accusations, including how they differ depending on whether the complainant was under or over 21 years old.

Keywords: Criminal Justice System, Sexual Violence, law and Arab culture, modest woman

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2 Sri Lankan Contribution to Peace and Security in the World: Legal Perspective

Authors: Muthukuda Arachchige Dona Shiroma Jeeva Shirajanie Niriella

Abstract:

Suppressing terrorism and ensuring peace and security of the people is one of the topics which have gained serious attention of the world community. Commissions of terrorist activities, locally and internationally lead to an uncertainty of peace and security, violations of human rights of the people. Thereby it demands stringent security laws and strong criminal justice systems, both at domestic and international levels. This paper intends to evaluate security laws in Sri Lanka through the criminal justice perspective, including their efficacy in relation to combat terrorism. The paper further intends to discuss the importance of such laws in upholding the peace and security at both local and universal levels. The paper argues that the term ‘efficacy’ does not stand for, sending people to jail at large-scale, but the ability to combat terrorism crime without violating the rights of the innocent people. The qualitative research method is followed to conduct this research which contains an extensive examination of security laws available as counter-terrorism laws in Sri Lanka with the relevant international standards adopted by the UN treaties. Primary sources which are relevant to the research, including judicial pronouncements are also discussed in this regard. Secondary sources such as reports, research articles and textbooks on this topic and information available on the internet are also reviewed in this analysis.

Keywords: Terrorism, Criminal Justice System, Sri Lanka, security laws, international treaty law

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1 Moral Decision-Making in the Criminal Justice System: The Influence of Gruesome Descriptions

Authors: Daniel Pastor, Sandra Baez, Hernando Santamaria-Garcia, Agustin Ibanez, Michel Patiño-Sáenz, Martín Haissiner, Jorge Martínez-Cotrina, Maria-Alejandra Tangarife

Abstract:

It has been shown that gruesome descriptions of harm can increase the punishment given to a transgressor. This biasing effect is mediated by negative emotions, which are elicited upon the presentation of gruesome descriptions. However, there is a lack of studies inquiring the influence of such descriptions on moral decision-making in people involved in the criminal justice system. Such populations are of special interest since they have experience dealing with gruesome evidence, but also formal education on how to assess evidence and gauge the appropriate punishment according to the law. Likewise, they are expected to be objective and rational when performing their duty, because their decisions can impact profoundly people`s lives. Considering these antecedents, the objective of this study was to explore the influence gruesome written descriptions on moral decision-making in this group of people. To that end, we recruited attorneys, judges and public prosecutors (Criminal justice group, CJ, n=30) whose field of specialty is criminal law. In addition, we included a control group of people who did not have a formal education in law (n=30), but who were paired in age and years of education with the CJ group. All participants completed an online, Spanish-adapted version of a moral decision-making task, which was previously reported in the literature and also standardized and validated in the Latin-American context. A series of text-based stories describing two characters, one inflicting harm on the other, were presented to participants. Transgressor's intentionality (accidental vs. intentional harm) and language (gruesome vs. plain) used to describe harm were manipulated employing a within-subjects and a between-subjects design, respectively. After reading each story, participants were asked to rate (a) the harmful action's moral adequacy, (b) the amount of punishment deserving the transgressor and (c) how damaging was his behavior. Results showed main effects of group, intentionality and type of language on all dependent measures. In both groups, intentional harmful actions were rated as significantly less morally adequate, were punished more severely and were deemed as more damaging. Moreover, control subjects deemed more damaging and punished more severely any type of action than the CJ group. In addition, there was an interaction between intentionality and group. People in the control group rated harmful actions as less morally adequate than the CJ group, but only when the action was accidental. Also, there was an interaction between intentionality and language on punishment ratings. Controls punished more when harm was described using gruesome language. However, that was not the case of people in the CJ group, who assigned the same amount of punishment in both conditions. In conclusion, participants with job experience in the criminal justice system or criminal law differ in the way they make moral decisions. Particularly, it seems that they are less sensitive to the biasing effect of gruesome evidence, which is probably explained by their formal education or their experience in dealing with such evidence. Nonetheless, more studies are needed to determine the impact this phenomenon has on the fulfillment of their duty.

Keywords: Criminal Justice System, intentionality, Emotions, gruesome descriptions, moral decision-making

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