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I am a victim of a crime, I want to file a criminal case!

The authority to file a case in criminal courts belongs to the Public prosecutors. If you are a victim of a crime, upon your complaint to the public prosecutor, he will conduct an investigation and file a criminal case on behalf of the public if he deems necessary.

Which issues cannot be complained to the Public Prosecution Office?

The complaints made to the Public Prosecution Offices should always be related to a crime. Civil cases such as payment of rent, divorce or failure to pay a debt are not within the competency of the public prosecution office. For those issues, application should be made to the civil courts. It may be useful if you consult to a lawyer thereon.

How to lodge a complaint?

A complaint is informing public prosecution office or law enforcement agencies (police, gendarmerie) about the crime that you have been exposed to, the name of the perpetrator/s, if you know, and explicit declaration of your request concerning the punishment of the perpetrator/s. It will be useful to bring a petition describing the incident with you, but not compulsory.

What will happen if my complaint is not real?

The incident that you have complained should occur or the person you have complained should be the suspect of the said crime in reality, at least there should be reasonable justification for you to think in this way. In case you file a complaint on purpose on an incident which has not happened, you may be put under investigation due to creating “false charges” and in case you complain about someone who you know not have committed a crime, you may be put under investigation due to “libel”.

What should I do ?

Civil cases are filed and resume upon the will of the parties. However, criminal cases are initiated on a request made on behalf of the public and the public prosecutor is the party of the case on behalf of the public. Therefore, procedures are simpler when compared to that of civil cases. It is sufficient that one (you) notifies the crime to the authorized bodies. It is not likely that you are deprived of your rights because of the procedure as it is the case in civil courts.

Can I Participate in the judicial process?

Trial is conducted on behalf of the public in criminal cases. However, the state entitles you to a certain extent to participate in the trial process with the prosecutor since you are the victim of a crime. If you file a complaint or participate in the case, then you are entitled to be involved in certain proceedings.

What is the Difference Between the Victim and the Complainant?

Victim is the person whose rights have been violated by commission of a crime. The requests of the victims from the state to punish the perpetrators is called “complaint”. Every victim is not always a complainant. Therefore, this distinction exists.

What Will Happen If I do not Complain?

Sentence of some petty crimes is based on the complaint of the victim. However, complaint is not necessary in the punishment of serious crimes. The perpetrator is sentenced even if the victim does not file a complaint. However, the victim who does not complain, cannot benefit from some civil rights.

Are Complaint and Notice the same?

Whenever a crime is committed, public order is distorted. Therefore the public empowers the public prosecution office to prosecute the crimes. Everyone may inform the law enforcement agencies or public prosecution offices about a committed crime. Complaint is a right granted to victims, however notice may be filed by everyone. Complainant may participate in the trial, but the owner of the notice has no right to do this.

What is Intervening to the Trial?

When a public case is filed, complainant may intervene in the trial and may be a party to the judicial proceedings. Intervention is a procedural transaction and it is conducted by declaring your intention to the court. If the court approves the request then intervener becomes party to the judicial proceedings. For instance, the intervener may present a witness, ask questions to witnesses via court, appeal the decision. Intervention does not mean to be present at every hearing. It means to be a party to the case in the procedural sense.

Is a lawyer necessary?

Public officials deal with the necessary transactions on behalf of the victims or those affected by crime. If the victim or the person affected by crime is a minor, deaf or mute, or mentally disabled, a lawyer will directly be appointed for them. It is always advantageous for you to represent yourself by a lawyer but it is not compulsory. Victims of sexual crimes and of the crimes that have a lower limit more than 5 years of imprisonment may ask for a free lawyer from the bar provided that they have an intervener status in the case. When the victim or the person affected by crime is a minor, deaf or mute, or mentally disabled and s/he cannot defend himself/herself, it is a legal obligation that they are represented by a lawyer. In case they have no lawyer, the bar appoints one for them. Fee of these lawyers is paid by the one who loses the case or assumed by the state in case of an acquittal.

How can you enjoy your right to conciliation?

The public prosecutor invites the perpetrator to public prosecution office in cases where the law allows. He asks if the perpetrator accepts the liability arising from the concerned crime. In case the perpetrator accepts the crime as well as paying the whole or important part of the material and moral loss arising from the concerned action or compensating the losses, you will be notified thereon. In case you accept with your free will that your loss is compensated partially or completely and declare that you reconcile, there will be no further prosecution.