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Opening Statements in Criminal Procedure
Opening Statements in Criminal Procedure

Author(s): Ismail Zejneli, Betim Jahja
Subject(s): Law, Constitution, Jurisprudence, Criminal Law
Published by: Societatea de Stiinte Juridice si Administrative
Keywords: opening statement; criminal procedure; criminal law; evidence;
Summary/Abstract: Before proceeding to the presentation of concrete evidence, according to the CPL, opening statements must be presented. The trial begins with the opening statements. The plaintiff speaks first, then the defence counsel or the defendant. However, the defendant shall have the right not to give an opening statement. The earlier procedural provisions stipulated that the main trial begins with the reading of accusation. The provision of the CPL which is now in force provides for opening statements and stipulates that the main trial begins with the holding of opening statements. According to the principle of officiality, the charge expresses the function of prosecution - nemo iudex sine actore. Since the legislator relates the initiation of the main trial with the opening statements, and since the public prosecutor gives the opening statement first, it is implied that in that case he reads the bill of indictment. Something like that indirectly results in the case where after the plaintiff's opening statement, the presiding judge shall ask the defendant if he or she understands the accusation. In the opening statements, the parties may present which are the decisive facts they intend to prove, they may speak about the evidence that will be presented and establish the legal issues that are going to be subject of deliberation. In this regard, the parties in the opening statements can refer to admissible evidence, the law in force and can use tables, diagrams, transcripts of tapes allowed by the court, summaries and comparisons of evidence if they are based on admissible evidence, as well as enlargement of their specimens to demonstrate or present to the court as an illustration. In the opening statements, presentation of facts regarding any prior convictions of the defendant shall not be permitted as part of the statements nor shall the parties not be allowed to comment on the allegations and proposed evidence by the other party.