Procedural Safeguards, November 2013
The European Commission has presented a package of proposals to further strengthen procedural safeguards for citizens in criminal proceedings.
1. A Directive to strengthen the presumption of innocence and the right to be present at trial in criminal proceedings
2. A Directive on special safeguards for children suspected or accused of a crime
3. A Directive on the right to provisional legal aid for citizens suspected or accused of a crime and for those subject to a European Arrest Warrant
These legislative proposals are complemented by two Commission Recommendations to Member States:
1. A Recommendation on procedural safeguards for vulnerable people suspected or accused in criminal proceedings
2. A Recommendation on the right to legal aid for suspects or accused persons in criminal proceedings
You will find the Commission press release is at http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-1157_en.htm
Joint letter on Pre-trial detention to Vice-President Reding of the European Commission
As the European Commission, Council and Parliament have recognised, ‘excessively long periods of pre-trial detention are detrimental to the individual, can prejudice cooperation between the Member States, and do not represent the values for which the European Union stands’. This letter is to follow-up on the European Union’s work to tackle this problem and to urge the Commission to continue its work in this area beyond the current legislative programme, including developing a timeframe for tabling a legislative proposal setting common minimum standards for the use of pre-trial detention in the EU. Please click here for the letter.
This letter has been signed by Amnesty International; Association Européenne pour la Défense des Droits de l'Homme; APADOR Association for the Prevention of Torture; Czech Helsinki Committee; Defence for Children International; European Criminal Bar Association; Federation Internationale de L’ACAT; Fair Trials International; Harm Reduction International; Human Rights Monitoring Institute; Lithuania Hungarian Helsinki Committee; International Centre for Prison Studies; Irish Penal Reform Trust; JUSTICE; Law Society of England and Wales; League of Human Rights; Czech Republic; Liga voor Mensenrechten; Observatoire International de Justice Juvenile; Open Society Justice Initiative; Quaker Council on European Affairs; Prisoners Abroad.
9 September 2013
Communication of the EC op EPPO, November 2013
Please click here to find a Communication of the European Commission analysing and responding to reasoned opinions issued by national Parliaments regarding the compliance of the proposal to establish a European Public Prosecutor‘s Office with the principle of subsidiarity. The Commission confirms that its proposal complies with the principle of subsidiarity as enshrined in the EU Treaties and decides to maintain its proposal explaining the reasoning behind this decision.
ECBA Press Release on EPPO Proposal
The ECBA has published a Press Release (click here to access) following the European Commissions' Proposal for Council Regulation on the Establishment of “EPPO” of 17 July 2013.
For the communication (COM(2013) 532 final) from the European Commission click here and for the proposal on the Council Regulation (COM(2013) 534 final) here. You will also find information on the EC website by following the link http://ec.europa.eu/justice/newsroom/criminal/news/130717_en.htm
On this issue the ECBA had published the 'ECBA Cornerstones on a European Public Prosecutor’s Office (“EPPO”) – Art. 86 TFEU' in February 2013. See also below.
ECBA Touchstones - Minimum Standards for the right to Legal Aid (Measure C part 2)
Click here for this new ECBA Position Paper (25 June 2013) which is the result of intensive and careful consideration of the ECBA working group on legal aid, composed of practitioners in criminal law from all over Europe. A reply signed by Mr Selmayr, Head of Vice President Viviane Reding's (European Commission) private office was sent 2 July 2013.
ECBA Resolution on the Protection of Lawyers in the Exercise of their Professional Duties
Please click here for the ECBA resolution on the Protection of Lawyers in the Exercise of their Professional Duties which expresses our concerns for past and upcoming criminal proceedings and coercive measures against defence lawyers in Turkey. We are in particular seriously concerned about the trial against the President and the Board Members of the Istanbul Bar Association, starting on 17 May 2013. Such is our concern in this regard that we will be present in court during this trial as European observers in terms of the rule of law and the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers. This resolution was sent to the President and the Minister of Justice of Turkey and to the President of the Istanbul Bar Association on the 13th of May 2013.
Click here for the reply of President Barroso, European Commission.
Latest Progress Report on Measure C
Please click here for the text.
Another landmark of the procedural rights agenda has been met: European Parliament adopts Commission proposal on access to a lawyer - Memo from the EC - 10 September 2013
Please click here for the memo
ECBA press release – LIBE vote on Directive on access to a lawyer - 19 June 2013
Please click here to read the press release
Enhanced rights for accused persons agreed by Irish Presidency
The Irish Presidency today secured agreement with the European Parliament on a new Directive which guarantees those suspected or accused of a crime the right to access a lawyer.
The proposed Directive aims to set common minimum standards on the rights of suspects and accused persons in criminal and European Arrest Warrant (EAW) proceedings throughout the European Union to have access to a lawyer and to have a third party informed when they have been detained. Enhancing the rights of citizens and the rule of law is an important priority of Ireland’s Presidency. Read the full Presidency programme.
Minister Shatter – “This measure is a further step to ensuring common standards in criminal proceedings across the EU. These standards are essential to ensuring mutual trust between Member States and the protection of the rights of all our citizens.”
Welcoming the agreement Ireland’s Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter said:
“Procedural rights and the rule of law are at the very heart of justice systems across the EU. We can only be certain of achieving fair and robust judicial decisions where the rights of the accused are adequately protected. This measure is a further step to ensuring common standards in criminal proceedings across the EU. These standards are essential to ensuring mutual trust between Member States and the protection of the rights of all our citizens.”
This proposal is one of a number of measures forming part of the procedural rights roadmap which was adopted in the Justice and Home Affairs Council in November 2009. The Roadmap invited the Commission to bring forward legislative proposals on various procedural rights of suspects or accused persons in criminal proceedings, including the measure agreed today. Other measures under the Roadmap concerning the right to information and the right to interpretation and translation have already been adopted.
The Presidency’s agreement with the European Parliament will now have to be confirmed by the Council and by the European Parliament before the measure is adopted. (29 May 2013)
Joint briefing on the Directive on the right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings and the right to inform a third party upon deprivation of liberty
Click here for the joint NGO briefing of 15 April 2013 submitted to the EP (Rapporteur and shadows) and to the Council ahead of the trilogue on Wednesday, 17 April, by Amnesty International, European Criminal Bar Association (ECBA), Fair Trials International, Irish Council for Civil Liberties, JUSTICE and Open Society Justice Initiative. The situation is very serious because there is a concrete danger that the negotiations in the trilogue of EC, EP and Council emerge as a bad compromise weakening the fundamental rights of EU citizens in criminal proceedings.
After the discussions and the very critical General Approach of the Council in June 2012 the Proposal’s text was seriously eroded, setting its reach back to a level that lead the ECBA to consider that it would be preferable to have no Directive at all than having the text resulting from the discussions in the Council. The last hope to attain a satisfactory text is the European Parliament. Meeting its role as the voice of the European citizens, the EP adopted the LIBE report drafted by Oana Antonescu. This report was strongly endorsed by the ECBA since it strived to establish a high standard of protection of the citizens’ rights. We still back and support strongly the Parliamentarians in the current trilogue who are fighting for the fundamental rights of citizens in the EU who are legally guaranteed presumed to be innocent. The most crucial points are: no questionning without access to a lawyer; no exception in terms of absolute confidentiality of defence communication as a suspect’s right (to distinguish from legal privileges of lawyers); no exclusion of minor offences (whatever „minor“ means); „double“ defence in EAW cases in executing and issuing state; remedies.
Click below for all papers, articles, information and statements on Measure C:
ECBA Cornerstones on a European Public Prosecutor’s Office (“EPPO”) – Art. 86 TFEU
Please click here to access this document which has been sent to the European Commission, to the Members of the European Parliament, to the national ministries of justice, to the representatives of Member States in Brussels, to the EU Council of Member States, the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights, to CCBE and national bars and law societies, to several NGO’s and other linked organizations and to our membership, defence practitioners in over 35 Council of Europe Member States (February 2013).
We are honoured that the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and Committee on Legal Affairs has invited the ECBA Chair, Holger Matt to speak at the Interparliamentary Committee Meeting, 'The Stockholm Programme: State of play regarding police and judicial cooperation in civil and criminal matters' on Thursday, 20 June 2013. Click here for the draft programme.
A conference organized by the Lithuanian Presidency in cooperation with the European Commission and ERA, with the title 'European Public Prosecutor’s Office: Constructive Approach towards the Legal Framework', will be held in Vilnius on 16 and 17 September 2013. The ECBA Chair, Holger Matt has been invited to speak. Please click here for the draft programme.
Proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and the Council on freezing and confiscation of proceeds in crime in the European Union.
Please click here for the statement of the European Criminal Bar Association on the proposal. Click here for the draft report on the proposal from the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.
EU Criminal Justice for Defence Counsel
EU criminal law for defence counsel 2nd series 2013-2014
This second EU-wide project will offer defence counsel training on EU criminal justice instruments and judicial cooperation. The project will also feed into the step-by-step approach agreed by the EU on the establishment of certain procedural safeguards by presenting this approach and explaining and discussing the first measures taken with defence lawyers throughout the EU. The project is co-finaced by the European Commission under its Criminal Justice Programme. The project will consist of five seminars conducted throughout the EU in the years 2013.
Click here for more information.
Money Laundering Report
The ECBA has launched a new online reference tool on money laundering legislation in relation to the legal profession.
This information can be viewed on this website, please click here.
The ECBA is delighted to work in partnership with organisations who share our aims and objectives.
For more information about our collective members click here.
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