|Home||About Us||False Allegations||Child Protection Issues||News||Media||How You Can Help||Links||Poems||Declarations||Archive|
faso is a voluntary organisation dedicated to supporting
Miscarriage of Justice CRIMINAL - European Commission proposal, Fair Rights to Trial proposal
Courtesy of (MOJUK) News Service.
Fair trial rights: European Commission proposal giving citizens the right to information in criminal proceedings to become law
"You have the right to. . . . a Letter of Rights"
Soon this will be the reality for anyone who is arrested or detained anywhere in the European Union. EU Justice Ministers today adopted a new law that the European Commission had proposed to ensure defendants' right to information during criminal proceedings. Under the 'Directive on the right to information in criminal proceedings', suspects of a criminal offence will be informed of their rights in a language they understand. The measure will ensure that EU countries will give anyone arrested - or subject to a European Arrest Warrant - a Letter of Rights listing their basic rights during criminal proceedings. Once it will have entered into force (two years after it is published in the EU's Official Journal - which is expected to take place within weeks), the new law will apply to an estimated 8 million criminal proceedings every year in all EU 27 Member States. Currently this right only exists in about one third of Member States.
"The right to a fair trial is one of the central pillars of our justice systems in Europe," said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner. "This new EU law will help to safeguard this right by ensuring everyone is clearly and promptly informed of their rights. Today is a milestone in our common efforts to ensure Europeans have access to justice, wherever they are in the EU. I want to thank the European Parliament and the EU Justice Ministers for their support of the Commission proposal. It sets a good precedent for a Europe of rights and justice that it was possible to make this fair trial right a reality for Europe's 500 million citizens so swiftly."
The Directive will ensure that police and prosecutors provide suspects with information about their rights. Following an arrest, authorities will give this information in writing - in a Letter of Rights - drafted in simple, everyday language. It will be provided to suspects upon arrest in all cases, whether they ask for it or not, and it will be translated if needed. EU countries are free to choose the exact wording of the Letter, the Commission proposed a model in 22 EU languages (see Annex). This will provide consistency for people crossing borders and limit translation costs.
The Letter of Rights will contain practical details about the rights of persons arrested or detained, such as the right:
The Letter of Rights will help to avoid miscarriages of justice and reduce the number of appeals.
At the moment, the chances that citizens will be properly informed of their rights if they are arrested and face criminal charges vary across the EU. In some Member States, suspects only receive oral information about their procedural rights, and in others the written information is not given unless requested.
Under Article 82(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and with a view to facilitating the mutual recognition of judicial decisions and improving police and judicial cooperation on criminal matters, the EU can adopt measures to strengthen the rights of EU citizens, based on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
The right to a fair trial and the right to a defence are set out in Articles 47 and 48 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights; as well as in Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
In June 2011, the Commission put forward a third measure to guarantee access to a lawyer and to communicate with relatives (IP/11/689). The proposal is currently under discussion in the European Parliament and in the Council.
faso is a voluntary organisation dedicated to supporting anyone affected by a false allegation of abuse
|HELPLINE: 0844 335 1992 or write to FASO c/o 176 Risca Road, Crosskeys, Newport, NP11 7DH|