Anyone who has direct knowledge of facts relevant to the case can be called as a witness, in other words they saw the crime taking place or they know something significant in discovering the truth.
In a way, witnesses are indirect victims, as witnessing a crime or a violent situation can cause emotional distress.

In principle, anyone who is named as a witness must testify, with a few exceptions:
close relatives of the defendant who may refuse to testify, as well as persons bound by professional secrecy, such as journalists, doctors, and lawyers. However, they may be asked to testify if the crime is serious and their testimony is crucial to getting to the truth.
Furthermore, according to Article 210 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, “the following persons shall not be examined as witnesses in the hearing: (a) those who have exercised prosecutorial or investigational duties or the functions of inquest clerk in the same case; (b) those who have been brought to trial for the same act until their guilt has been irrevocably established; © those who have been found guilty of the act under trial, even if they have not yet been sentenced”.

Any witness called to appear must appear in court on the date and time and at the place given, and follow the instructions given on how to testify and answer the questions truthfully. Otherwise, he or she may be charged with the offence of perjury.

Witnesses are not required to give their home address for court notice purposes. They may choose to give their work address or another address to avoid other participants in the proceedings knowing where they live.
Witnesses may be accompanied by a lawyer whenever they need to testify. Whenever necessary, the lawyer can inform them of their rights, but cannot intervene in the investigation.

On the day of the trial, witnesses are not allowed to be in the courtroom before testifying, so they must wait in the witness waiting area and enter the courtroom only to testify.
The defendant may be removed from the courtroom while a witness, particularly the victim, is testifying if the court deems that the defendant’s presence may prevent the witness from telling the truth or if the witness is under 16 years of age and there are reasons to believe that testifying in the defendant’s presence may have serious adverse consequences.

If a witness is seriously ill or has to travel abroad and is unable to testify in court, then the judge may decide to examine the witness either at the ordinary investigation stage or at the examination stage, so that his or her testimony can be used in the trial if necessary. The participants in this examination, in addition to the judge, are the prosecutor, the defendant and the defence counsel, and the counsel for the victim and the civil parties. This testimony is recorded and is called a statement for future recall because its purpose is to be used as evidence at trial.
Witnesses residing abroad are examined at the local consular authorities.
Witnesses shall be entitled to reimbursement of expenses incurred by participating in the proceedings.

Witness protection measures may be applied whenever there are risks to the life, physical and psychological integrity of the witness, freedom and property of significant value due to their contribution to the proof of the crime. These measures may be extended to include the relatives of the witness and other persons close to them.
Witnesses who are considered particularly vulnerable may benefit from a range of measures to protect them from victimization or intimidation.


Useful contacts Glossary Map

Top Map Exit