Mock Trial of NUS
Empowering the victims of child sexual abuse and domestic violence and their prosecutors for quality and prompt legal assistance.
Under this project Nari Unnayan Shakti is conducting Mock Trial.
Bangladesh is a densely populated country. The people of the country are suffering from different kinds of problems that are closely related to the basic human rights. Getting legal support is one of them. Ignorance of victims about the legal system, and their rights as well as their traumatic condition prevents them from testifying effectively at court or from filing cases. Considering the prevailing situation should be changed and empowering victims of child sexual abuse and domestic violence for quality and prompt legal assistance. Nari Unnayan Shakti has started a network of activities involving community people, community leader, local elected body, local police station, Prosecutors, Judiciary policy makers as well as victims for establishing Mock Trial a newly introduced system in Bangladesh empowering victim, witness and prosecutors for justice.
Where from the Mock Trial Method came
1: Mock trial is totally new concept for Nepal. It is a replication of Sri Lanka. Mock Trial means artificial courtroom. Here victims are testified and witnesses are called for statement.
2: It is even called as shadow court as well. But it does the same process of Actual court.
1: This Mock Trial shall help the victims to get justice in a proper manner; this programme is conducting in Camera Court.
2: Child victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence enabled to provide effective testimony in court.
Methodology of Mock Trial
Mock Trial Dias
NUS has established a mock court in the NUS office premises at House # 35, Road # 04, Block # E, Banasree, Rampura- Dhaka-1219. In the court premises, facilities of rest room for clients, counseling room, Court room with properly accommodated furniture’s and places for Justice, Prosecutors, Plaintiffs, Victims, Accused and other court staffs and audience
Identifying the victims
NUS has taken various steps to identify victims for bringing them in to mock trial court. On the issue, working effectively NUS is keeping contact with possible places where there the people are searching for justice like Local Commissioner’s offices, police stations, court premises. More over in the community level NUS staffs are giving circulation about the Mock Trial during Cultural Programs, meeting, group discussions, poster sticking and distributing handbill and other regular program like saving and credit. Getting information about a case NUS staff went there for justifying socially. If the case is sanguine then the staff counsel and motivate them to attend at the mock trial session.
For home the Mock Trial is?
The victims, Plaintiff and witnesses of criminal cases like trafficking, rape, attempt to Rape, Sexual Exploitation, Murder, Battering, and critical Civil cases like Property Rights, Maintenance, had been preceded for the Mock trial by our organization. The real Lawyers pleaded in the Mock trial.
Selection of cases for the mock trial
1: Mainly criminal and some civil cases which are already filled in the court,
2: Plaintiff, victim, witness statement had yet to be testified, had been chosen for the mock trial. So that victim and witnesses both should learn the correct way of answering.
Guideline to victim/witness
1: The prosecutors teach the victims/witnesses to provide the supporting documents to make her case strong.
2: During the 1st session the responses may be incorrect but after counseling and 4/5 sessions they will become perfect in giving their testimony. In every step the offender lawyer, bench assistance every one was correcting and teaching the victim and witnesses how to answer.
3: The opponent lawyers as well as the Judges ask the questions in legal language, which are very tricky. One single wrong answer or mistake is observed and noticed in the court, which may result to loose the case.
4: Basically Mock Trial Session Conductors teach the victims/witnesses if you hesitate/ confused/shy to answer during the court procedure than you may loose the case. And the result will be that offender shall be proven as an innocent one.
5: The prosecutors analyze her/its cases and make her aware about the nature of her case.
6: The Mock Trial Session Conductors prepare the victims mentally to build the confidence and self esteem.
7: They try to make a consistency in victims’, plaintiff and witnesses statement that if their statement verified from FIR, 164 and 161 of police record it may cause to loose the case.
Steps of Mock Trial
1: Identifying Lawyers
For the better understanding and to run the case effectively, NUS try to find out the victim’s real public prosecutors to participate in the mock trial. If not possible then NUS’s own staff advocate stands for the plaintiffs and victims. Date for the mock trial usually fixed in consent with of the plaintiff and victim.
2: Preparatory meeting of lawyers
Before the trial session, all the lawyers provided with the original documents of the victims like FIR, Case Study, and Deposition. On the date of the trial session lawyers take some time to prepare themselves and recap the entire situation.
3: Make understand court environment to the plaintiff and the victims
All new comers in the court get an introductory session about the court premises and environment as the ice breaking to cope with and face possible all the situation and other emerged issues.
Conducting Trial Session
Possible all measures take to start up and run the court as similar as to the real court. Court staffs take their sit in time, prosecutors for the both sides take their position and the honorable Judge takes his sit and order for start the prosecution. All prosecutors dressed with their professional black gown.
Close meeting for correction and validating the information
After the trial sessions, prosecutors sit with the plaintiff and victim for discussing about the statement and testimony to mark on the trail and validate/ correct them to face the case at the real court.
Fix date for next session
The next date fixes for mock trial and counsel/ motivates victims/plaintiff for more psychological preparation for the next session.
1: The victims, plaintiff and witnesses it builds their confidence
2: Due to the physical and mental torture a victim in the most cases were helpless, shy, and inconvenient, hesitate or not in the state to face the court room procedure. For them mock trial has given platform to prepare themselves for court, improve there weaknesses.
3: Victim/witnesses were aware of court procedure and technique of answering the questions.
4: Victim learnt her vital role to panelize the offender by law.
5: Victims are aware of institution like Nari Unnayan Shakti is behind her for the correct and timely support the community people could refer others.
6: They are aware of weakness of their case and victims were confident that they are not going to hostile their case.
7: Victim Provided with Effective Testimony against Perpetrators and face the real court with self esteem and Confidence.
8: Victims became aware that they should be courage’s to report the violence against them on time.
9: They understood the importance of reporting for the dispute resolution of family through negotiation and mediation
10: Some times public prosecutors do not inform the date to the victims to attend at the court. The process will inform them in time.
11: The situation is opposite in district level where they highly appreciate it and demanded for continuation in future as well.
12: As most of the people are illiterate or unaware of their rights, they are unaware of courtroom procedure and not confident, and has problem to understand legal language.
13: In conclusion Nari Unnayan Shakti has got the opportunity to implement the document of Victim/Witness support protocol linking with Mock Trial. It should be continued in the future as well. The people of judicial sector shall be aware about the protocol.
1: Most of the victims were hesitate to present in the mock trial. When victims/witnesses were in the trial session mostly they were confused/puzzled by the questions asked, they were not able to give correct information.
2: They have never faced the court before; it was totally new experience for them.
3: During the trial when the offender lawyer were asking the cross question it makes the victim and witness nervous.
4: During the trial when the offender lawyer were asking the cross question it makes the victim and witness nervous.
1: Starting the session of mock trial for first time it had consumed time in understanding and explaining the concept nicely and clearly.
2: It was even delayed due to current critical political situation, logistic and technical adjustment as well.
3: As well as most of the victims and witnesses are staying far away (village) from the city so it is difficult for them to present for the session of mock trial, to gather them in the same time, and to contact them due to lack of communication. All this reasons delayed the conduction of Mock trial.
Good mock trials shall leave an appreciation of the difficulties that judges and lawyers face in attempting to present all relevant facts and legal arguments and insure the just resolution of the issues involved. It was experienced in present situation that the some of the victim and witnesses of centre are literate, job holder and confident in answering in the real court, so few of them they don’t feel that they need any kind of practice, may be in future they will realize its importance. The mock trial has proven to be an effective method in resolving cases with positive end. It helps victims develop useful knowledge about the law, questioning techniques, critical thinking, and oral advocacy skills
This is a part report of the mock trial proceeding run by Nari Unnayan Shakti. Through the project, 20 victims of child sexual abuse and domestic violence will be received legal assistance, including training for court hearings through mock trials. So far five cases of mock trial is underway at the mock trial court.