Procedural Safeguards

This section charts the development of the EU proposals on procedural safeguards from 2004 to the present day and the ECBAs contribution to the discussion.

On 28 April 2004 the European Commission tabled a proposal for a Framework Decision on certain procedural rights in criminal proceedings throughout the European Union (9318/04 COPEN 61 + ADD 1). There followed a long process of discussion and negotiation between the Member States but despite the efforts of the ECBA, other NGOs and many Member States, it became clear there was no collective political will to agree the provisions and the proposal was reduced to little more than a letter of intent which held no compulsion or compellability.

However, during the Swedish Presidency, a programme to strengthen procedural safeguards was resurrected and the Stockholm Programme introduced a Roadmap of Procedural Safeguards which provides a step-by-step programme as follows:

Measure A:
Translation and Interpretation

Measure B:
Information on Rights and Information about the Charges

Measure C:
Legal Advice and Legal Aid

Measure D:
Communication with Relatives, Employers and Consular Authorities

Measure E:
Special Safeguards for Suspected or Accused Persons who are Vulnerable

Measure F:
A Green Paper on the Right to Review of the Grounds for Pre-Trial Detention

The ECBA continues to monitor the progress each step of the road map, and is providing technical and expert legal advice to the EU institutions as well as collating information and data to contribute to the shaping and development of this legislation.

Speech by Viviane Reding,
Vice-President of the European Commission, EU Justice Commissioner

Ladies and Gentlemen, It is a pleasure to be here today in this splendid Hall, home to so many distinguished lawyers over the ages, and none more so than Thomas More, that great English lawyer and defender of universal values, who went on to become governor of Lincoln's Inn...

Revised version of the Draft Resolution of the Council on a roadmap for strengthening procedural rights of suspected or accused persons in criminal proceedings

Please click here for the revised Roadmap.

The Stockholm Programme was adopted by the European Council in December 2009 and provides a framework for EU action on the questions of citizenship, justice, security, asylum and immigration for the next five years. As its predecessors (the Hague Programme and the Tampere Programme) it is a five-year work plan that sets out the strategic objectives for the further development of the European Union’s “area of freedom, security and justice” from 2010 to 2014.

In the Programme the European Council considers that the setting up of a comprehensive system for obtaining evidence in cases with a cross-border dimension, based on the principle of mutual recognition, should be further pursued. It describes the existing instruments in this area as constituting a fragmentary regime. “A new approach is needed, based on the principle of mutual recognition but also taking into account the flexibility of the traditional system of mutual legal assistance. This new model could have a broader scope and should cover as many types of evidence as possible, taking account of the measures concerned.”

Please click here to view the Stockholm Programme (PDF).

 

Letter from the Ministry of Justice Sweden to Hoger Matt.
Please click here for the letter.

 

Conference on Justice in the EU – from the Citizen’s Perspective
Stockholm, 22-23 July 2009

 

Please click here for the address by Judge Dean Spielmann
By clicking on the links you will find:
The Preliminary Programme
The Draft programme Workshop Procedural Rights for suspects an defendants in Criminal Proceeding in the European Union
The Invitation to Holger Matt to speak at the conference.

 

Communication  from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council - An area of freedom, security and justice serving the citizen (52009DC0262 /* COM/2009/0262 final */)
Please click here to got to EC website and relevant documents.

 

The ECBA Condemns European Commission Failure to Safeguard Defendant’s Rights
Please click here for the ECBA press release.

 

Roadmap with a view to fostering protection of suspected and accused persons in criminal proceedings
presented by the Presidency to the Delegations -  Council of the European Union
Please click here for the Roadmap.

 

The ECBA has written a letter to the Vice President Mr Barrot to express its position in respect of the intended Commission proposal on procedural safeguards and the intended "road map" of the EU Council, promoted by the impending Swedish Presidency.
Please click here for the letter.

 

Mr Barrot replied to the ECBA on the 15th June 2009. Please click here for his response.

Please find a letter from representatives of the Open Society Justice Initiative, Fair Trials International, Amnesty International, JUSTICE, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, and the European Criminal Bar Association.

The European Commission convened an experts meeting on procedural rights in criminal proceedings in Brussels on 26 and 27 March 2009.

Members will be familiar with this proposal which had been through protracted negotiations since the issue of the green paper on procedural safeguards in 2003 and resulted in stalemate.  The Commission have resurrected this proposal and the experts meeting was the first step in putting this topic firmly back on the EU agenda.  Click on 'read more' for copies of relevant documents including the agenda and reports.

 

Agenda
Please click here to open.

 

List of Participants
Please click here to open.

 

Reflection document from the  European Commission for the Experts' Meeting on Procedural Rights
Please click here to open.

 

Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on certain procedural rights in criminal proceeding throughout the European Union (presented by the Commission)
Please click here to open.

 

Observations by the Council of Europe Secretariat on the proposal for a EU Council Framework Decision on certain procedural rights in criminal proceeding throughout the European Union
Please click here to open.

 

Annex
Please click here to open.

 

Information for persons arrested on the basis of an existing arrest warrant
Please click here to open.

 

Preparing for the Swedisch Presidency of the EU - Conference: Justice in the EU - from the Citizen's Perspective, 23-23 July 2009, Stockholm, Sweden
Please click here to open.

 

Final Report of the Reflection Forum on Mulitlingualism and Interpreter Training
Please click here to open.

 

Presentation of a study on Effective Criminal Defence Rights in Europe, Open Society - Justice Initiative, Justice, University of the West of England - Bristol, Maastricht University
Please click here to open.

 

Presentation of 'Letter of Rights'- EU wide Letter of Rights in Criminal Proceedings:Towards Best Practice
Prof.dr. Taru Spronken
Please click here to open.

 

Study on Procedural Rights in Criminal Procedures: Existing levels of Safeguards in the European Union - 2008 Update
Prof.dr. Taru Spronken (Maastricht University) and Prof.dr. Gert Vermeulen (IRCP - Institute for International Research on Criminal Policy)
Please click here to open the presentation.
Please click here to open the study.

 

Submission on the legal basis for a framework decision on procedural rights in criminal proceedings for the experts meeting 26 and 27 March, Justice, Amnesty International, Open Society - Justice Initiative
Please click here to open.

The ECBA has written to Alberto Costa, the Justice Minister of Portugal (which currently holds the Presidency of the EU) urging that progress should be made on the adoption of the Framework Decision on the European Supervision Order in Pre-Trail Procedures between Member States.

The proposed Framework Decision would enable a person charged with an offence in one Member State to be returned to their home Member State, subject to appropriate supervision measures, pending trial.

This important measure would help to put an end to the current situation where non-nationals are often discriminated against by being held in custody pending trial where nationals charged with a similar offence would have been released.

The ECBA has cited a number of practical examples of cases involving its members in support of its arguments.
We will continue to put pressure on Member States to adopt this important measure and hope that our members will also raise the issue with their own bar associations and governments where possible.

Please click here to open the letter...

Note: This letter is only available in PDF file format.

 

 

The ECBA has written in strong terms to Commissioner Frattini, expressing once again our concern that the Framework Decision on Procedural Rights has not been adopted and asking for an explanation of the reasons for the delay in implementing the measures scheduled in the Hague Programme.

We have called for clarification of the Commission's plans in this important area and urged the Commission to honour its Hague Programme commitments in the interests of strengthening freedom, security and justice in the European Union.

Any response that we receive will also be published on this website.

Please click here to open the letter...

Note: This letter is only available in PDF file format.

 

 

article from: The Law Society Gazette
author: Catherine Baksi
date published: 14 june 2007

This document is only available in PDF file format.

Read more... (download pdf document)

 

Introduction

On 28 April 2004 the European Commission tabled a proposal for a Framework Decision on certain procedural rights in criminal proceedings throughout the European Union (9318/04 COPEN 61 + ADD 1). Since then, this draft has been discussed in the Working Party of Substantive Criminal Law, including three times by the Council during the Austrian, Finnish and German Presidencies.

from: The Irish Times
author: Jamie Smyth

European diary: Irish opposition to a draft EU law to guarantee a minimum level of rights to criminal suspects risks provoking an angry dispute between EU justice ministers tomorrow.

When Commissioner Frattini attended the Civil Liberties Committee in January 2007, Members of the European Parliament asked a number of questions on behalf of the ECBA asking about progress on a number of key issues. We asked about the latest state of play on the framework decision on procedural rights and also about other proposals that would impact on individual rights such as evidence based safeguards and work on in absentia judgments.

Commissioner Frattini confirmed that the Commission was committed to progress in this area but gave no clear timetable or detailed reply.

Please click here to open the letter...

Note: This letter is only available in PDF file format.