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Amendment to the Criminal Procedure Act, ZKP-N

At its session on 26 March 2019 the National Assembly went through the Act Amending the Criminal Procedure Act (ZKP-N). It is an important and comprehensive amendment. The amendment came into force on 20 April 2019 and will be applied six months after its entry into force, with the exception of the amended and new provisions of Article 149a, Article 149b, Article 149c, Article 149c, 149d Article 149d, Article 149 e, Article 150 a, Article 150 b, Article 152, Article 153, paragraphs 1 to 4 and 6 of article 154, article 156 and article 156 a will be used within three months of the date of entry into force. Pending the entry into force of the new provisions, the previous provisions shall apply.

The main goal of the amendment was the implementation of the European directive, t. i. The Victims Directive, but also contains other important solutions related to the transfer of decisions of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia and the European Court of Human Rights, as well as other solutions.

The new regulation will greatly improve or strengthened the position of the victim in criminal proceedings due to the European Parliament and Council Directive no. 2012/29 EU of 25 October 2012. According to the new regulations, the competent authorities in the pre-trial or criminal proceedings will have to contact the injured party at the earliest contact with the victim, to provide precisely regulated information, on the first contact, they will have to assess the degree of victim’s vulnerability to determine the existence of special needs after the protection, the amendment extended the notion of the victim (in the procedural sense, it was extended to certain family members of a person whose death was a direct consequence of the crime and the definition of a victim with special needs), and some other changes and innovations were adopted in the direction of strengthening the position of the victim or injured party.

Another important novelty is the regulation of the seizure of objects, files and electronic devices by lawyers and other persons in the case of their material, which contains privileged communication. It is stipulated that the investigation of an electronic device seized by a lawyer, a lawyer candidate or a laweyer trainee may only be carried out on the basis of a court order. In the event that it will be necessary to carry out an investigation into an electronic device that has been seized and the data on it is insured and sealed, only on the premises of the court, and it will be carried out only by an expert who will be appointed by a special order by an out-of-court judge. In cases where it is likely that the objects, files or data contained in seized items or files are likely to be confined to the suspect or accused, and that the person to whom the objects or files were seized, their delivery or the transmission of data, may be violated the duty to protect the secrecy of the confession, the duty to protect professional secrecy, and also the duty to protect journalistic confidentiality, put them in a cover, sealed and placed in the custody of an out-of-court judge. A list and review of objects or documents can only be done at the hearing. In this way, it will be ensured that the police, the public prosecutor with confidential information will not be informed.

Much of the novelty is about modifying and supplementing the arrangement of covert investigative measures. A new regime for obtaining traffic and related data is regulated, and this will reduce interference with the right to the protection of personal data, a catalog of serious criminal offenses in reation to which the measure of secret surveillance can be applied will be amended, and the police will be allowed to use IMSI catcher.

A major change is the arrangement of the house investigation. It is stipulated that if the holder is not accessible, the court may ex officio be appointed by an authorized court of lawyer, and in such a way the house investigation may be carried out, even though the holder of the room will not be present. The amendment also brought changes to the scope of legal remedies. The deadline for the appeal and the response to the appeal will be extended, a round of rounds of persons will be complemented by a circle of persons who will be able to file a complaint against the judgment of the second instance court, then there are changes in an extraordinary legal remedy, the requirements for the protection of legality, it further abolishes the mandatory reading of the documents at the main hearing and specifies the conditions for a legitimate absence court orders and some other changes and novelties.

There are many changes and novelties, but how they will be reflected in practise will be seen in time.

The Act Amending the Criminal Procedure Code (ZKP-N) can be viewed on the link: https://www.uradni-list.si/glasilo-uradni-list-rs/vsebina/2019-01-0915/zakon-o-spremembah-in-dopolnitvah-zakona-o-kazenskem-postopku-zkp-n.