Helsinki Committee for Human Rights

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indictment

An indictment is a criminal accusation that a person has committed a crime. In jurisdictions that use the concept of felonies, the most serious criminal offence is a felony; jurisdictions that do not use the felonies concept often use that of an indictable offence, an offence that requires an indictment.

The criminal law in India is derived from the colonial-era British system, does not use a jury system and is codified in the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). Criminal offences are divided into two broad categories: cognisable offences and non-cognisable offences. The police are empowered to start investigating a cognisable offence. The complaint is considered merely an accusation. However, in both cognisable and non-cognisable offences, the trial starts only with the "Framing of Charges" similar to the concept of indictment. The trial court does not proceed with the trial if the evidence is insufficient to make out a charge.

As to the preferring of a bill of indictment and the signing of an indictment, see section 2 of the Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1933 and the Indictments (Procedure) Rules 1971 (S.I. 1971/2084) made thereunder, as amended and modified by the Indictments (Procedure) (Amendment) Rules 1983 (S.I. 1983/284), the Indictments (Procedure) (Amendment) Rules 1988 (S.I. 1988/1783), the Indictments (Procedure) (Amendment) Rules 1992 (S.I. 1992/284), the Indictments (Procedure) (Amendment) Rules 1997 (S.I. 1997/711), the Indictments (Procedure) (Modification) Rules 1998 (S.I. 1998/3045) and the Indictments (Procedure) (Amendment) Rules 2000 (S.I. 2000/3360).

In Scotland, all of these cases brought in the High Court of Justiciary are brought in the name of the Lord Advocate and will be tried on indictment. In a sheriff court where trials proceed using the solemn proceedings they will also be tried on indictment and are brought in the name of the Lord Advocate. All solemn indictments are designed in the manner Her (or His) Majesty’s Advocate v Smith, or, more frequently HMA v Smith.

The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution states in part: "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia when in actual service in time of War or public danger". The requirement of an indictment has not been incorporated against the states; therefore, even though the federal government uses grand juries and indictments, not all U.S. states do.

The substance of an indictment or other charging instrument is usually the same, regardless of the jurisdiction: it consists of a short and plain statement of where, when, and how the defendant allegedly committed the offense. Each offense usually is set out in a separate count. Indictments for complex crimes, particularly those involving conspiracy or numerous counts, may run to hundreds of pages. In other cases, however, an indictment for a crime as serious as murder, may consist of a single sheet of paper.

Indictable offenses are normally tried by jury, unless the accused waives the right to a jury trial. Even though the Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution mandates the right to a jury trial in any criminal prosecution, the vast majority of criminal cases in the US are resolved by the plea-bargaining process.

A direct indictment is one in which the case is sent directly to trial before a preliminary inquiry is completed or when the accused has been discharged by a preliminary inquiry. It is meant to be an extraordinary, rarely used power to ensure that those who should be brought to trial are in a timely manner or where an error of judgment is seen to have been made in the preliminary inquiry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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U.S. HELSINKI COMMISSION TO HOLD HEARING ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND TRANSNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME

November 2, 2011

10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Please join the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe for a hearing that explores the nexus between Transnational Organized Crime and Human Trafficking.

Organized Crime has evolved to meet the challenges of globalization and modern technology. In this evolution major international criminal organizations and smaller highly specialized groups of criminal entrepreneurs have found new ways to expand their operations and exploit human beings into slavery. To meet these challenges new national and international strategies have been placed into action, but their results remain to be seen. This continues the Helsinki Commission’s hearing series on new fronts in human trafficking. This hearing will focus on: (1) the evolving nature of Transnational Organized Crime, (2) the role of major international organized crime groups and smaller organized criminal syndicates in human trafficking, (3) identified trends, and (4) strategies to combat these organizations and prevent the trafficking of human beings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright * Helsinki Committee for Human Rights 2011