Procedural Safeguards

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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.

Joint letter in relation to Continued Assistance to the Roadmap for Procedural Rights in Criminal Proceedings

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.  We have been writing jointly to offer our continued assistance to progress the Roadmap for strengthening procedural rights of suspected or accused persons in criminal proceedings.

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Stockholm Programme - Roadmap Procedural Safeguards

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.

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Expert's Meeting on Procedural Rights - 26 and 27 March 2009

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.

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Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on certain procedural rights in criminal proceedings...

full title:
Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on certain procedural rights in criminal proceedings throughout the European Union

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.

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Letter to the Working Party on Substantive Criminal Law

Please click here for the joint letter Amnesty International, Justice, the Law Society of England and Wales and the European Criminal Bar Association (ECBA) have addressed to the Working party on Substantive Criminal Law ahead of its discussions next Monday on the proposal for a Council Framework decision on certain procedural rights in criminal proceedings throughout the EU.

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ECBA Letter to Civil Liberties of European Parliament

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.

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ECBA Letter to Commissioner Frattini

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. 

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ECBA Letter to Alberto Costa

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.

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Procedural Right in Criminal Proceedings

Marelle Attinger and Taru Spronken

This report was written by Taru Spronken and Marelle Attinger, Faculty of Law, Department of Criminal Law and Criminology of the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands and was funded by the European Commission. The Commission's aim with this study is to assess levels of provision of procedural rights currently afforded to suspected persons in criminal proceedings throughout the EU.The study consists of an examination of replies to a questionnaire. Specific reference is made to the procedural rights covered by the Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on certain procedural rights in criminal proceedings throughout the EU of 28 April 2004, in order to establish which Member States meet the Commission's proposed minimum standards and to identify any potential lacunae in relation to each of the areas of procedural rights covered by the Proposed FD.

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ECBA-View – Presentation of Taru and Holger in Paris 2004

On the procedural safeguards for suspects and defendants

Opening Remarks

A special welcome was given to Caroline Morgan, the director of unit B3 “Judicial Cooperation in criminal matters” of the Commission.  The ECBA are looking for communication and cooperation to achieve common goals in respect of (minimum) standards of criminal proceedings in EU member states.

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