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Our 2015

As the year draws to a close, it’s hard not to dwell on how quickly time has passed. There have been significant developments over the last 12 months, including new protections for refugees, who until this year were being pursued through INTERPOL, and agreement in Europe on a new law to protect the presumption of innocence for everyone accused of a crime. You can read more about some of our successes below. 
We are already looking to the future. We are making our New Year’s Resolutions for 2016, and you can help us keep them.
Fair Trials is a charity, and wouldn't be able to do a fraction of our work without the generous support of our donors. If you have given in the past to help us make the human right to a fair trial a reality, thank you. If you haven't given before, or would like to give again, it's really easy to do so, just click here.
 Thank you for being a part of our work and success.
protect human rightsHELP more people understand and exercise their rights.

If you or your loved ones are accused of a criminal offence, it can be a terrifying experience. We want to  empower more people than ever to help them understand their rights and access expert support, and this   means reaching as many people as possible. We have a wealth of free information online, including advice specific to over 30 countries, that can provide guidance on what to do when accused of a criminal offence.
We want to extend our reach, but we need your help.


Benny WendaFIGHT the underlying causes of unfair trials.
We've already helped secure new protections for basic rights in Europe, including access to a lawyer and the disclosure of evidence. As a result, crminal codes across the EU are changing to make these rights a reality. In 2016 we will be pushing for similar protections when it comes to legal aid, as well as children in the justice system. 


Fair trial defendersBUILD an international network of fair trial defenders.
Next year we want to train over 100 lawyers on how to use international human rights standards to advance the right to a fair trial in their own countries, because lawyers are the front-line defenders of this fundamental human right. We will also continue to work with our expert panel in Europe to make international standards a reality and we hope to start building on our successes in Europe to expand our networks elsewhere in the world.

 Some of this year's highlights:

                                            INTERPOLINTERPOL reforms

As well as an announcement of new safeguards against abuse of INTERPOL, based on our recommendations, we also had a number of events promoting awareness of the abuse of INTERPOL, including one at Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C., USA which was featured in the New York Times. We also had a number of case successes, including the removal of Azer Samadov’s Red Notice after 6 years.
"The essence of the matter is that instead of fighting criminals, INTERPOL is helping criminal regimes fight their political opponents."
- Azer Samadov

EU presumption of innocence
                                             Presumption of Innocence                                                                                    

In November, the European Parliament and Council (bringing together the EU Member States) agreed a final text for the Directive on the Presumption of Innocence and the right to be present at one's trial, which will be the fourth EU law on fair trial rights adopted since 2010. It makes a number of welcome improvements, including some proposed by the Legal Experts Advisory Panel.



legal advice
                                             LEAP Annual Conference                                                                                                                         

As our Legal Experts Advisory Panel continues to grow, so does our knowledge and reach across Europe to promote a fair trial for all. Our LEAP Conference brought together lawyers, academics and NGO representatives in Amsterdam for a two day event which provided the opportunity for sharing best practice and effective ideas on how to ensure fair trial rights are protected across the EU.



Online Assistancelegal assistance                                                                                           

 We have helped over 100 nationalities in over 120 different countries in the last 5 years. Having published 19 new Notes of Advice, we now have guides for over 30 countries, including most of Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand, which over 15,000 people globally have accessed online in the last six months. These guides are designed to provide answers to the questions most commonly asked by people who have approached us for help. As well as providing basic information about criminal justice systems, our notes also give the details of local sources of support such as local bar associations, ombudsmen, and human rights organisations.

Traininglegal training                                                                                           

Not only do we now have free online training, but we’ve also held a number of expert training sessions for legal practitioners across the EU – and we have more to come next year! The training sessions provide expert and locally focused advice on how to fully use international standards on fair trial rights in criminal proceedings, including new EU laws on the right to interpretation & translation, the right to information and the right of access to a lawyer.




                                                                                           Pre-Trial Detentionpre-trial detention

Globally, there are currently close to three million people being held in pre-trial detention, and we have continued to campaign against unjustified pre-trial detention. Not only have we been working on our pre-trial detention project, with the findings due to be presented at the European Parliament in March 2016, but we’ve also been tackling it on a global scale. Our conference in October was an opportunity for lawyers and NGOs from all over the world to share best practice and information on challenging pre-trial detention, and Lithuania has introduced reforms on pre-trial detention based on our recommendations.

InterventionsEuropean court of human rights                                                                      

We have made some key legal interventions influencing the outcome of important human rights cases. Our submissions in Europe, for example, have led to two European Court of Human Rights judgments tackling key causes of injustice in criminal cases.

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on 020 7822 2370 or 07950 849 851.

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If you are a journalist interested in this story, please call the media team on +44 (0) 7749 785 932 or email [email protected]

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Activities in the following sections on this website are supported by the Justice Programme of the European Union: Legal Experts Advisory Panel, Defence Rights Map, Case Law Database, Advice Guides and Latest News. More information about our financial supporters is available here.