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Strengthening procedural rights in Europe: new report goes inside police custody

admin - January 11, 2019 - EU Directives on procedural rights, Justicia

 

On 4 December 2018, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), working as part of the JUSTICIA Network, launched the ‘Inside Police Custody 2’ report – an empirical study of suspects’ rights at the investigative stage of the criminal process in nine EU countries. The research is the first of its kind to examine the implementation in practice of all three Directives, and provides also a number of recommendations.

As background, in 2009, the European Union adopted a ‘roadmap’ of procedural rights in criminal proceedings, with the aim of introducing EU legislation covering a range of procedural rights for suspected and accused persons. The first three Directives adopted under the programme – on the right to interpretation and translation, the right to information, and the right of access to a lawyer – came into effect in October 2013, June 2014, and November 2016 respectively, requiring Member States to take the necessary steps to give effect to the provisions contained in them. How well this has happened was the focus of the IPC2 report.

The formal launch of the report was introduced by MEP Martina Anderson, a member of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee, who emphasised the significance of the report in showing how the Directives are working on the ground. “The EU human rights standards are not met yet,” she reminded in her speech.

The empirical research  was carried out by a number of JUSTICIA Network members, including the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights (Austria), Associazione Antigone (Italy), the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland), the Association for the Defence of Human Rights in Romania and the Peace Institute (Slovenia). The results reveal numerous challenges regarding how procedural rights are applied in practice: problems exist in the implementation of each Directive, especially regarding the right of access to a lawyer, with Bulgaria and Romania being the countries of greatest concern.

To learn more about the findings of the report and its recommendations, access the ‘Inside Police Custody 2’ report here.

 

The Inside Police Custody Project has been co-ordinated by the ICCL on behalf of the JUSTICIA Network, and supported by the Justice Programme of the European Union. The JUSTICIA Network, comprising civil society organisations from across the European Union, recently became part of Fair Trials’  Legal Experts Advisory Panel (LEAP).

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on +44 (0) 20 7822 2370 or +32 (0) 2 360 04 71.

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