Victims’ rights in the Colombian criminal process

portada derechos de las victimas

Victims’ rights in criminal proceedings

Who are understood as victims?

Victims are understood to be natural and legal persons who individually or collectively have suffered any harm as a result of the crime.

What can I do as a victim in a criminal proceeding?

In Law 906 of 2004, unlike its predecessors, the victim has a preponderant role in the criminal process. Not only does it have the right to reparation, but it has the right to truth and justice, deriving in a series of other rights, such as:

  • To be heard.
  • To be facilitated in the provision of evidence.
  • To the guarantee of your safety, that of your family members and witnesses in your favor.
  • To receive comprehensive recovery assistance.
  • To have their interests considered before any decision relevant to the process is made.
  • To be assisted in their participation during the trial and during the incident of integral reparation.
  • To be informed about any action they may take and the rights they have.
  • To be notified of the proceedings and hearings.

In the development of these rights may, at the trial stage:

  • To request the decree of precautionary measures on assets of the accused for the purpose of compensating the damages caused by the crime.
  • Request the judge, through the prosecutor:
    • The restitution of property recovered from crime.
    • The authorization of the use and enjoyment of the assets recovered from the crime, provided that they have been acquired in good faith.
    • The recognition of provisional aid from the compensation fund for victims.
  • Request by themselves or through the prosecutor the necessary measures for their care and protection.
  • Demand to be informed of any determination made regarding the prosecution of the crime.
  • Request representation by an attorney to intervene from the preparatory hearing onwards.
  • To accept or not to mediate with the defendant.
  • Request to the judge means of evidence by themselves or through the prosecutor.
  • To present allegations regarding the defendant’s responsibility.
  • To file appeals against any action to which it is entitled.

In addition, subsequently and if criminal liability is declared, it may initiate an incident of integral reparation, where it will be able to:

  • Request the necessary precautionary measures.
  • Request the summons of the insurer or civilly liable third party, i.e. whoever is legally liable for the damages caused by the conduct of the convicted person, even if he/she is not criminally liable.
  • To mediate or conciliate or not to do so.
  • To file appeals against any action to which it is entitled.
  • In general, to any action to which it would be entitled as a plaintiff in a civil proceeding.


Remember that, from the preparatory hearing onwards, in order to demand the victims’ rights to which you may have access, you will require the representation of a lawyer.

At Servicio Legal we have experienced criminal law attorneys ready to represent you as a victim, and enforce your rights.

If you would like legal advice, we invite you to contact us through our website.