BETA


2013/0407(COD) Criminal proceedings: strengthening of certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and of the right to be present at trial

Progress: Procedure completed

RoleCommitteeRapporteurShadows
Lead LIBE GRIESBECK Nathalie (icon: ALDE ALDE) GÁL Kinga (icon: PPE PPE), SIPPEL Birgit (icon: S&D S&D), UJAZDOWSKI Kazimierz Michał (icon: ECR ECR), DE JONG Dennis (icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL), ALBRECHT Jan Philipp (icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE), FERRARA Laura (icon: EFDD EFDD)
Former Responsible Committee LIBE WEBER Renate (icon: ALDE ALDE)
Committee Opinion JURI DURAND Pascal (icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE)
Former Committee Opinion JURI THEIN Alexandra (icon: ALDE ALDE) Therese COMODINI CACHIA (icon: PPE PPE), Victor NEGRESCU (icon: S&D S&D)
Lead committee dossier:
Legal Basis:
TFEU 082-p2

Events

2016/03/16
   EC - Commission response to text adopted in plenary
Documents
2016/03/11
   Final act published in Official Journal
Details

PURPOSE: to ensure the right to a fair trial by setting out common minimum standards on certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and of the right to be present at trial in criminal proceedings.

NON-LEGISLATIVE ACT: Directive (EU) 2016/343 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the strengthening of certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and of the right to be present at the trial in criminal proceedings.

CONTENT: this Directive lays down common minimum rules concerning: (a) certain aspects of the presumption of innocence in criminal proceedings; (b) the right to be present at the trial in criminal proceedings. It upholds the fundamental rights and principles recognised by the Charter and by the ECHR. It aims to enhance the right to a fair trial in criminal proceedings by laying down common minimum rules concerning certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and the right to be present at the trial.

This Directive aims to strengthen the trust of Member States in each other's criminal justice systems and thus to facilitate mutual recognition of decisions in criminal matters.

Scope : this Directive applies to natural persons who are suspects or accused persons in criminal proceedings. It applies at all stages of the criminal proceedings , from the moment when a person is suspected or accused of having committed a criminal offence, or an alleged criminal offence, until the decision on the final determination of whether that person has committed the criminal offence concerned has become definitive.

Presumption of innocence : Member States shall ensure that suspects and accused persons are presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law .

Under this Directive:

Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that, for as long as a suspect or an accused person has not been proved guilty according to law, public statements made by public authorities, and judicial decisions, other than those on guilt, do not refer to that person as being guilty. This shall be without prejudice to acts of the prosecution which aim to prove the guilt of the suspect or accused person, and to preliminary decisions of a procedural nature, which are taken by judicial or other competent authorities and which are based on suspicion or incriminating evidence; public statements made by public authorities, and judicial decisions, other than those on guilt, must not refer to that person as being guilty for as long as a suspect or an accused person has not been proved guilty according to law; the competent authorities should abstain from presenting suspects or accused persons as being guilty, in court or in public, through the use of measures of physical restraint , unless the use of such measures is required for case-specific reasons, either relating to security; the burden of proof for establishing the guilt of suspects and accused persons is on the prosecution, and any doubt should benefit the suspect or accused person.

Right to remain silent and right not to incriminate oneself : the exercise by suspects and accused persons of the right to remain silent or of the right not to incriminate oneself shall not be used against them and shall not be considered to be evidence that they have committed the criminal offence concerned.

With regard to minor offences , the conduct of the proceedings, or certain stages thereof, may take place in writing or without questioning of the suspect or accused person by the competent authorities in relation to the offence concerned, provided that this complies with the right to a fair trial.

Right to be present at the trial : Member States shall ensure that suspects and accused persons have the right to be present at their trial. They may provide that a trial which can result in a decision on the guilt or innocence of a suspect or accused person can be held in his or her absence, provided that: the suspect or accused person has been informed, in due time, of the trial and of the consequences of non-appearance; or the suspect or accused person, having been informed of the trial, is represented by a mandated lawyer, who was appointed either by the suspect or accused person or by the State.

Where Member States provide for the possibility of holding trials in the absence of suspects or accused persons but it is not possible to comply with the conditions because a suspect or accused person cannot be located despite reasonable efforts having been made, Member States may provide that a decision can nevertheless be taken and enforced. In that case, Member States shall ensure that when suspects or accused persons are informed of the decision, in particular when they are apprehended, they are also informed of the possibility to challenge the decision and of the right to a new trial or to another legal remedy.

As regards the right to a new trial , Member States shall ensure that those suspects and accused persons have the right to be present, to participate effectively, in accordance with procedures under national law, and to exercise the rights of the defence.

Remedies : Member States shall ensure that suspects and accused persons have an effective remedy if their rights under this Directive are breached.

Data collection and reporting : Member States shall, by 1 April 2020 and every three years thereafter, send to the Commission available data showing how the rights laid down in this Directive have been implemented.

The Commission shall, by 1 April 2021 , submit a report on the implementation of this Directive.

ENTRY INTO FORCE: 31.3.2016.

TRANSPOSITION: 1.4.2018.

2016/03/09
   CSL - Draft final act
Documents
2016/03/09
   CSL - Final act signed
2016/02/12
   EP/CSL - Act adopted by Council after Parliament's 1st reading
2016/02/12
   EP - End of procedure in Parliament
2016/02/12
   CSL - Council Meeting
2016/01/20
   EP - Results of vote in Parliament
2016/01/20
   EP - Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
Details

The European Parliament adopted by 577 votes to 48 with 86 abstentions, a legislative resolution on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the strengthening of certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and of the right to be present at trial in criminal proceedings.

Parliament’s position, adopted in first reading following the ordinary legislative procedure, amended the Commission proposal as follows:

Scope: the Directive applies to natural persons who are suspects or accused persons in criminal proceedings. It applies at all stages of the criminal proceedings , from the moment when a person is suspected or accused of having committed a criminal offence, or an alleged criminal offence, until the decision on the final determination of whether that person has committed the criminal offence concerned has become definitive .

Legal actions and remedies that are available only once that decision has become definitive, including actions before the European Court of Human Rights, should not fall within the scope of the Directive.

Public references to guilt : public statements made by public authorities, and judicial decisions, other than those on guilt, must not refer to that person as being guilty for as long as a suspect or an accused person has not been proved guilty according to law, appropriate measures must be available in the event of a breach of the obligation.

However, the obligation not to refer to suspects or accused persons as being guilty should not prevent public authorities from publicly disseminating information on the criminal proceedings where this is strictly necessary for reasons relating to the criminal investigation, such as when video material is released and the public is asked to help in identifying the alleged perpetrator of the criminal offence or to the public interest.

Presentation of suspects and accused persons : competent authorities should abstain from presenting suspects or accused persons as being guilty, in court or in public, through the use of measures of physical restraint , such as handcuffs, glass boxes, cages and leg irons),

Member States may apply measures of physical restraint that are required for case-specific reasons, relating to security or to the prevention of suspects or accused persons from absconding or from having contact with third persons.

Burden of proof : the text states that that the burden of proof for establishing the guilt of suspects and accused persons is on the prosecution. However, in various Member States not only the prosecution, but also judges and competent courts are charged with seeking both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence . Parliament provided that Member States which do not have an adversarial system should be able to maintain their current system provided that it complies with the Directive and with other relevant provisions of Union and international law.

In addition, any doubt as to the question of guilt must be to benefit the suspect or accused person, including where the court assesses whether the person concerned should be acquitted.

Right to remain silent and right not to incriminate oneself : suspects and accused persons will have the right to remain silent in relation to the criminal offence that they are suspected or accused of having committed, and have the right not to incriminate themselves. These rights imply that competent authorities should not compel suspects or accused persons to provide information if those persons do not wish to do so.

The exercise of the right to remain silent or the right not to incriminate oneself should not be used against a suspect or accused person and should not, in itself, be considered to be evidence that the person concerned has committed the criminal offence concerned. This should be without prejudice to national rules concerning the assessment of evidence by courts or judges, provided that the rights of the defence are respected.

Judicial authorities may take into account, when sentencing, cooperative behaviour of suspects and accused persons.

Right to be present at the trial : the amended text states that it should also be possible to hold a trial which may result in a decision on guilt or innocence in the absence of a suspect or accused person where that person has been informed of the trial and has given a mandate to a lawyer who was- appointed by that person or by the State - to represent him or her at the trial and who represented the suspect or accused person.

Where Member States provide for the possibility of holding trials in the absence of suspects or accused persons but the conditions for taking a decision in the absence of a particular suspect or accused person are not met, for example because the person has fled or absconded, the amended text states that it should nevertheless be possible to take a decision in the absence of the suspect or accused person and to enforce that decision.

In that case, Member States should ensure that when suspects are informed of the decision, in particular when they are apprehended, they should also be informed of the possibility of challenging the decision and of the right to a new trial or to another legal remedy . In case of a new trial , Member States shall ensure that those suspects and accused persons have the right to be present, to participate effectively, in accordance with procedures under national law, and to exercise the rights of the defence.

Remedies: Members stipulated that in the assessment of statements made by suspects or accused persons or of evidence obtained in breach of the right to remain silent or the right not to incriminate oneself, the rights of the defence and the fairness of the proceedings must be respected.

Documents
2016/01/19
   EP - Debate in Parliament
2015/04/21
   EP - Committee report tabled for plenary, 1st reading/single reading
Details

The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs adopted the report by Nathalie GRIESBECK (ADLE, FR) on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the strengthening of certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and of the right to be present at trial in criminal proceedings.

The committee recommended that Parliament’s position adopted in first reading following the ordinary legislative procedure should amend the Commission proposal as follows:

Scope : Members specified that the Directive should apply to criminal proceedings, as well as similar proceedings of a criminal nature leading to comparable sanctions of a punitive and deterrent nature, such as deprivation of liberty, irrespective of whether or not the proceedings were classified as criminal. Suspects must be presumed innocent until proven guilty by a final decision delivered according to law, in a trial at which they have had all the safeguards necessary for their defence.

Public references to guilt before proven guilty : statements must not reflect an opinion that the person was guilty and be of such a nature as to potentially encourage the public to believe the person was guilty. Public authorities must be prohibited from providing to the media any information concerning ongoing criminal proceedings that might undermine the principle of the presumption of innocence.

In the event of a breach of those requirements, independent investigations must take place on the breach and ensure that the suspect or accused person whose right to the presumption of innocence had been violated had access to an effective remedy.

Suspects must not presented in court or in public in a manner that suggested their guilt , before final conviction.

Burden of proof : Members considered that the reversal of the burden of proof in criminal proceedings was unacceptable. The principle that the burden of proof rested with the prosecution must be left untouched. The burden of proof in establishing the guilt of suspects or accused persons is on the prosecution and any doubt is to benefit the suspect or accused person.

Use of force : Members stressed that authorities must not use coercion in order to obtain information from a suspect or an accused person. The Directive must state clearly that the use of physical or psychological violence or threats against suspects or accused persons was banned, on the grounds that it constituted a violation of the right to human dignity and the right to a fair trial.

Right not to incriminate oneself and not to cooperate : the suspect or accused persons must be informed of their right not to incriminate themselves and not to cooperate, prior to any questioning by public authorities, and prior to the suspect giving testimony in court as well as at the moment of the arrest. Exercise of the right not to incriminate oneself and not to cooperate shall never be considered as a corroboration of the facts or as a reason in itself to adopt or maintain measures which restrict liberty before the final decision on the issue of guilt is taken.

Nevertheless cooperative behaviour by the suspect or accused person might be taken into account as a mitigating factor, when deciding the actual penalty.

Right to remain silent : the report sets out what constituted in practice the exercise of the right to silence and stated that the exercise of this right must never be considered as a corroboration of the facts, nor as a reason in itself to adopt or maintain measures which restricted liberty before the final decision on the issue of guilt was taken.

Right to be present at one's trial: Members wanted to place strict limits to cases where judgment might be rendered in the absence of the accused. Accordingly, proceedings might be conducted in the absence of the accused person only if:

the accused person, after being duly informed that he or she faced trial, explicitly and unequivocally renounced the right to be present, and only if he or she were represented in the proceedings; if the offence which gave rise to the proceedings was punishable by a fine , and the suspect or accused person must always be present if the offence was punishable by a term of imprisonment.

Right to a new trial : with a view to preserving the right to a fair trial, Members established that examination of new evidence might take place. Where the suspects were not present at the trial, the person concerned had the right to a new trial which allowed a fresh determination of the merits of the case – with the opportunity to secure new evidence and, if appropriate, to call the previous evidence into question through cross-examination.

Vulnerable persons : in the implementation of the Directive the particular needs of vulnerable persons who became suspects or accused persons must be taken into account.

Report: 2 years after the deadline for transposition, the Commission shall submit a report assessing the extent to which the Member States had taken the necessary measures to comply with the Directive.

Documents
2015/03/31
   EP - Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading
2015/03/31
   EP - Committee decision to open interinstitutional negotiations with report adopted in committee
2015/03/26
   EP - Committee opinion
Documents
2015/03/06
   EP - Amendments tabled in committee
Documents
2015/01/21
   EP - Committee draft report
Documents
2014/12/04
   CSL - Debate in Council
Documents
2014/12/04
   CSL - Council Meeting
2014/10/20
   EP - Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
2014/10/10
   CSL - Debate in Council
Documents
2014/10/10
   CSL - Council Meeting
2014/09/03
   EP - DURAND Pascal (Verts/ALE) appointed as rapporteur in JURI
2014/07/22
   EP - GRIESBECK Nathalie (ALDE) appointed as rapporteur in LIBE
2014/06/05
   CZ_SENATE - Contribution
Documents
2014/02/27
   ES_PARLIAMENT - Contribution
Documents
2014/02/27
   IT_CHAMBER - Contribution
Documents
2014/02/27
   IT_SENATE - Contribution
Documents
2014/02/05
   PT_PARLIAMENT - Contribution
Documents
2014/01/21
   EP - WEBER Renate (ALDE) appointed as rapporteur in LIBE
2014/01/20
   EP - THEIN Alexandra (ALDE) appointed as rapporteur in JURI
2014/01/13
   EP - Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
2013/11/27
   EC - Document attached to the procedure
2013/11/27
   EC - Document attached to the procedure
2013/11/27
   EC - Document attached to the procedure
2013/11/27
   EC - Legislative proposal published
Details

PURPOSE: to ensure the right to a fair trial by setting out common minimum standards on certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and of the right to be present at trial in criminal proceedings

PROPOSED ACT: Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council.

ROLE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: the European Parliament decides in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure and on an equal footing with the Council.

BACKGROUND: the Stockholm Programme put a strong focus on the strengthening of the rights of individuals in criminal proceedings. The European Council invited the Commission to consider establishing minimum procedural rights for suspects or accused persons, and to address the issue of presumption of innocence , in order to promote better cooperation in that area.

Up to now, three measures have been adopted: Directive 2010/64/EU on the right to interpretation and translation, Directive 2012/13/EU on the right to information and Directive 2013/48/EU on the right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings.

The proposal continues this work and is part of a series of measures on criminal justice which includes: (i) a directive on provisional legal aid for suspects or accused persons deprived of liberty and legal aid in European arrest warrant proceedings; (ii) a directive on procedural safeguards for children suspected or accused in criminal proceedings

Moreover, on 14 June 2011, the Commission published a Green Paper on the application of EU criminal justice legislation in the field of detention to reflect on ways to strengthen the application of the principle of mutual recognition in the area of detention, within the limits of the EU's competence.

The principle of presumption of innocence has been developed over the years. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has held that Article 6(2) of the ECHR encompasses three key requirements: (i) the right not to be publicly presented as convicted by public authorities before the final judgment; (ii) the fact that the burden of proof is on prosecution and that any reasonable doubts on guilt should benefit the accused; and (iii) the right of the accused to be informed of the accusation against him.

The right to be present at trial is also an essential right of defence.

IMPACT ASSESSMENT: the Commission’s analysis considers that there exist points in which legal safeguards should be improved with regard to certain aspects the presumption of innocence to strengthen this fundamental right.

CONTENT: the draft directive aims to lay down minimum rules concerning certain aspects of the right of suspects and accused persons to be presumed innocent unless proven guilty by a final judgment.

The proposal covers the following rights:

1) The right not to be presented guilty by public authorities before the final judgment : the ECtHR established as one of the basic aspects of the principle of presumption of innocence the fact that a court or public official may not publicly present the suspects or accused persons as if they were guilty of an offence if they have not been tried and convicted of it by a final judgment.

2) The burden of proof is on prosecution and any reasonable doubts on the guilt should benefit the accused: this presupposes that a court's judgment must be based on evidence as put before it and not on mere allegations or assumptions.

3) The right not to incriminate one-self and not to cooperate and the right to remain silent: these rights lie at the heart of the notion of a fair trial under Article 6 of the ECHR.

· the right not to incriminate oneself presupposes that the prosecution in a criminal case seeks to prove the case against the accused without resort to evidence obtained through methods of coercion or oppression;

· the right to remain silent must be ensured and any inferences drawn from the fact that suspects make use of this right should be excluded .

Suspects should be promptly informed of their right to remain silent. Such information should also refer to the content of the right to remain silent and of the consequences of renouncing to it and of invoking it.

4) Right to be present at one's trial : the proposal lays down this right, established by the ECtHR, of an accused to be present at the trial and also establishes limited exceptions to this right, in line with the Charter, the ECHR and EU law. It provides that Member States must ensure that the right to be present applies to any trial aiming at assessing the question of the guilt of the accused person (both conviction and acquittal decisions).

Non-regression clause : the proposal aims to ensure that setting common minimum standards does not have the effect of lowering standards in certain Member States and that the standards set in the Charter and in the ECHR are maintained.

Documents

Activities

Votes

A8-0133/2015 - Nathalie Griesbeck - Résolution législative

2016/01/20 Outcome: +: 577, 0: 86, -: 48
DE IT ES RO FR GB HU CZ PT PL NL BE SE BG AT EL FI HR SK IE DK LT LV SI LU EE CY MT
Total
87
70
50
32
73
71
21
20
19
45
25
20
19
16
16
21
12
11
13
9
13
8
8
7
6
6
6
6
icon: PPE PPE
209

Finland PPE

2

Denmark PPE

For (1)

1
2

Luxembourg PPE

3

Estonia PPE

For (1)

1
icon: S&D S&D
180

Netherlands S&D

3
3

Croatia S&D

2

Ireland S&D

For (1)

1

Latvia S&D

1

Slovenia S&D

For (1)

1

Luxembourg S&D

For (1)

1

Estonia S&D

For (1)

1

Cyprus S&D

2

Malta S&D

3
icon: ALDE ALDE
63

Romania ALDE

3

United Kingdom ALDE

1

Croatia ALDE

2

Ireland ALDE

For (1)

1

Denmark ALDE

3
2

Latvia ALDE

1

Luxembourg ALDE

For (1)

1

Estonia ALDE

3
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
48

United Kingdom Verts/ALE

Abstain (2)

6

Hungary Verts/ALE

2

Netherlands Verts/ALE

2

Belgium Verts/ALE

2

Sweden Verts/ALE

3

Austria Verts/ALE

3

Finland Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Croatia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Denmark Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Lithuania Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Latvia Verts/ALE

1

Slovenia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Luxembourg Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Estonia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1
icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL
46

United Kingdom GUE/NGL

1

Czechia GUE/NGL

2

Portugal GUE/NGL

3

Netherlands GUE/NGL

3

Sweden GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

Finland GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

Ireland GUE/NGL

3

Denmark GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

Cyprus GUE/NGL

2
icon: EFDD EFDD
44

France EFDD

1

Czechia EFDD

Abstain (1)

1

Poland EFDD

1

Sweden EFDD

2
icon: NI NI
15

Germany NI

For (1)

Against (1)

2

France NI

Abstain (1)

3

United Kingdom NI

Abstain (1)

1

Poland NI

Abstain (1)

1
icon: ECR ECR
70

Italy ECR

2

Romania ECR

For (1)

1

Czechia ECR

2

Netherlands ECR

2

Bulgaria ECR

2

Greece ECR

For (1)

1

Finland ECR

2

Croatia ECR

Abstain (1)

1

Lithuania ECR

Abstain (1)

1

Latvia ECR

Abstain (1)

1
icon: ENF ENF
35

Romania ENF

1

United Kingdom ENF

Abstain (1)

1

Poland ENF

Abstain (1)

1

Netherlands ENF

4

Belgium ENF

Abstain (1)

1

Austria ENF

Against (1)

3
AmendmentsDossier
282 2013/0407(COD)
2014/03/25 JURI 16 amendments...
source: PE-532.333
2015/03/02 JURI 86 amendments...
source: 549.446
2015/03/06 LIBE 180 amendments...
source: 546.821

History

(these mark the time of scraping, not the official date of the change)

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docs/7/body
EC
events/7/docs/0/url
Old
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A8-2015-0133&language=EN
New
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/A-8-2015-0133_EN.html
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http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P8-TA-2016-0011
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activities
  • date: 2013-11-27T00:00:00 docs: url: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/smartapi/cgi/sga_doc?smartapi!celexplus!prod!DocNumber&lg=EN&type_doc=COMfinal&an_doc=2013&nu_doc=0821 title: COM(2013)0821 type: Legislative proposal published celexid: CELEX:52013PC0821:EN body: EC commission: DG: url: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/ title: Justice Commissioner: REDING Viviane type: Legislative proposal published
  • date: 2014-01-13T00:00:00 body: EP type: Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading committees: body: EP responsible: False committee: JURI date: 2014-09-03T00:00:00 committee_full: Legal Affairs rapporteur: group: Verts/ALE name: DURAND Pascal body: EP responsible: False committee: JURI date: 2014-01-20T00:00:00 committee_full: Legal Affairs rapporteur: group: ALDE name: THEIN Alexandra body: EP responsible: True committee: LIBE date: 2014-07-22T00:00:00 committee_full: Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs rapporteur: group: ALDE name: GRIESBECK Nathalie body: EP responsible: True committee: LIBE date: 2014-01-21T00:00:00 committee_full: Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs rapporteur: group: ALDE name: WEBER Renate
  • body: CSL meeting_id: 3336 docs: url: http://register.consilium.europa.eu/content/out?lang=EN&typ=SET&i=SMPL&ROWSPP=25&RESULTSET=1&NRROWS=500&DOC_LANCD=EN&ORDERBY=DOC_DATE+DESC&CONTENTS=3336*&MEET_DATE=10/10/2014 type: Debate in Council title: 3336 council: Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) date: 2014-10-10T00:00:00 type: Council Meeting
  • date: 2014-10-20T00:00:00 body: EP type: Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading committees: body: EP responsible: False committee: JURI date: 2014-09-03T00:00:00 committee_full: Legal Affairs rapporteur: group: Verts/ALE name: DURAND Pascal body: EP responsible: False committee: JURI date: 2014-01-20T00:00:00 committee_full: Legal Affairs rapporteur: group: ALDE name: THEIN Alexandra body: EP responsible: True committee: LIBE date: 2014-07-22T00:00:00 committee_full: Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs rapporteur: group: ALDE name: GRIESBECK Nathalie body: EP responsible: True committee: LIBE date: 2014-01-21T00:00:00 committee_full: Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs rapporteur: group: ALDE name: WEBER Renate
  • body: CSL meeting_id: 3354 docs: url: http://register.consilium.europa.eu/content/out?lang=EN&typ=SET&i=SMPL&ROWSPP=25&RESULTSET=1&NRROWS=500&DOC_LANCD=EN&ORDERBY=DOC_DATE+DESC&CONTENTS=3354*&MEET_DATE=04/12/2014 type: Debate in Council title: 3354 council: Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) date: 2014-12-04T00:00:00 type: Council Meeting
  • date: 2015-03-31T00:00:00 body: unknown type: Committee decision to open interinstitutional negotiations with report adopted in committee
  • date: 2015-03-31T00:00:00 body: EP type: Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading committees: body: EP responsible: False committee: JURI date: 2014-09-03T00:00:00 committee_full: Legal Affairs rapporteur: group: Verts/ALE name: DURAND Pascal body: EP responsible: False committee: JURI date: 2014-01-20T00:00:00 committee_full: Legal Affairs rapporteur: group: ALDE name: THEIN Alexandra body: EP responsible: True committee: LIBE date: 2014-07-22T00:00:00 committee_full: Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs rapporteur: group: ALDE name: GRIESBECK Nathalie body: EP responsible: True committee: LIBE date: 2014-01-21T00:00:00 committee_full: Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs rapporteur: group: ALDE name: WEBER Renate
  • body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A8-2015-0133&language=EN type: Committee report tabled for plenary, 1st reading/single reading title: A8-0133/2015 type: Committee report tabled for plenary, 1st reading/single reading committees: body: EP responsible: False committee: JURI date: 2014-09-03T00:00:00 committee_full: Legal Affairs rapporteur: group: Verts/ALE name: DURAND Pascal body: EP responsible: False committee: JURI date: 2014-01-20T00:00:00 committee_full: Legal Affairs rapporteur: group: ALDE name: THEIN Alexandra body: EP responsible: True committee: LIBE date: 2014-07-22T00:00:00 committee_full: Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs rapporteur: group: ALDE name: GRIESBECK Nathalie body: EP responsible: True committee: LIBE date: 2014-01-21T00:00:00 committee_full: Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs rapporteur: group: ALDE name: WEBER Renate date: 2015-04-21T00:00:00
  • date: 2016-01-19T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?secondRef=TOC&language=EN&reference=20160119&type=CRE type: Debate in Parliament title: Debate in Parliament body: EP type: Debate in Parliament
  • date: 2016-01-20T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P8-TA-2016-0011 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading title: T8-0011/2016 body: EP type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
  • date: 2016-02-12T00:00:00 body: CSL type: Council Meeting council: Economic and Financial Affairs ECOFIN meeting_id: 3445
  • date: 2016-02-12T00:00:00 body: EP/CSL type: Act adopted by Council after Parliament's 1st reading
  • date: 2016-03-09T00:00:00 body: CSL type: Final act signed
  • date: 2016-03-11T00:00:00 docs: url: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/smartapi/cgi/sga_doc?smartapi!celexplus!prod!CELEXnumdoc&lg=EN&numdoc=32016L0343 title: Directive 2016/343 url: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=OJ:L:2016:065:TOC title: OJ L 065 11.03.2016, p. 0001 type: Final act published in Official Journal
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  • body: CSL type: Council Meeting council: Economic and Financial Affairs ECOFIN meeting_id: 3445 url: http://register.consilium.europa.eu/content/out?lang=EN&typ=SET&i=SMPL&ROWSPP=25&RESULTSET=1&NRROWS=500&DOC_LANCD=EN&ORDERBY=DOC_DATE+DESC&CONTENTS=3445*&MEET_DATE=12/02/2016 date: 2016-02-12T00:00:00
  • body: CSL type: Council Meeting council: Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) meeting_id: 3354 url: http://register.consilium.europa.eu/content/out?lang=EN&typ=SET&i=SMPL&ROWSPP=25&RESULTSET=1&NRROWS=500&DOC_LANCD=EN&ORDERBY=DOC_DATE+DESC&CONTENTS=3354*&MEET_DATE=04/12/2014 date: 2014-12-04T00:00:00
  • body: CSL type: Council Meeting council: Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) meeting_id: 3336 url: http://register.consilium.europa.eu/content/out?lang=EN&typ=SET&i=SMPL&ROWSPP=25&RESULTSET=1&NRROWS=500&DOC_LANCD=EN&ORDERBY=DOC_DATE+DESC&CONTENTS=3336*&MEET_DATE=10/10/2014 date: 2014-10-10T00:00:00
docs
  • date: 2013-11-27T00:00:00 docs: url: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=SWD:2013:0478:FIN:EN:PDF title: EUR-Lex title: SWD(2013)0478 type: Document attached to the procedure body: EC
  • date: 2013-11-27T00:00:00 docs: url: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=SWD:2013:0479:FIN:EN:PDF title: EUR-Lex title: SWD(2013)0479 type: Document attached to the procedure body: EC
  • date: 2013-11-27T00:00:00 docs: url: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=SWD:2013:0500:FIN:EN:PDF title: EUR-Lex title: SWD(2013)0500 type: Document attached to the procedure body: EC
  • date: 2015-01-21T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE546.756 title: PE546.756 type: Committee draft report body: EP
  • date: 2015-03-06T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE546.821 title: PE546.821 type: Amendments tabled in committee body: EP
  • date: 2015-03-26T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE546.831&secondRef=02 title: PE546.831 committee: JURI type: Committee opinion body: EP
  • date: 2016-03-09T00:00:00 docs: url: http://register.consilium.europa.eu/content/out?lang=EN&typ=SET&i=ADV&RESULTSET=1&DOC_ID=[%n4]%2F16&DOC_LANCD=EN&ROWSPP=25&NRROWS=500&ORDERBY=DOC_DATE+DESC title: 00063/2015/LEX type: Draft final act body: CSL
  • date: 2016-03-16T00:00:00 docs: url: /oeil/spdoc.do?i=25590&j=0&l=en title: SP(2016)191 type: Commission response to text adopted in plenary
  • date: 2014-06-05T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.connefof.europarl.europa.eu/connefof/app/exp/COM(2013)0821 title: COM(2013)0821 type: Contribution body: CZ_SENATE
  • date: 2014-02-27T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.connefof.europarl.europa.eu/connefof/app/exp/COM(2013)0821 title: COM(2013)0821 type: Contribution body: ES_PARLIAMENT
  • date: 2014-02-27T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.connefof.europarl.europa.eu/connefof/app/exp/COM(2013)0821 title: COM(2013)0821 type: Contribution body: IT_CHAMBER
  • date: 2014-02-27T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.connefof.europarl.europa.eu/connefof/app/exp/COM(2013)0821 title: COM(2013)0821 type: Contribution body: IT_SENATE
  • date: 2014-02-05T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.connefof.europarl.europa.eu/connefof/app/exp/COM(2013)0821 title: COM(2013)0821 type: Contribution body: PT_PARLIAMENT
events
  • date: 2013-11-27T00:00:00 type: Legislative proposal published body: EC docs: url: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/smartapi/cgi/sga_doc?smartapi!celexplus!prod!DocNumber&lg=EN&type_doc=COMfinal&an_doc=2013&nu_doc=0821 title: EUR-Lex title: COM(2013)0821 summary: PURPOSE: to ensure the right to a fair trial by setting out common minimum standards on certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and of the right to be present at trial in criminal proceedings PROPOSED ACT: Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council. ROLE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: the European Parliament decides in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure and on an equal footing with the Council. BACKGROUND: the Stockholm Programme put a strong focus on the strengthening of the rights of individuals in criminal proceedings. The European Council invited the Commission to consider establishing minimum procedural rights for suspects or accused persons, and to address the issue of presumption of innocence , in order to promote better cooperation in that area. Up to now, three measures have been adopted: Directive 2010/64/EU on the right to interpretation and translation, Directive 2012/13/EU on the right to information and Directive 2013/48/EU on the right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings. The proposal continues this work and is part of a series of measures on criminal justice which includes: (i) a directive on provisional legal aid for suspects or accused persons deprived of liberty and legal aid in European arrest warrant proceedings; (ii) a directive on procedural safeguards for children suspected or accused in criminal proceedings Moreover, on 14 June 2011, the Commission published a Green Paper on the application of EU criminal justice legislation in the field of detention to reflect on ways to strengthen the application of the principle of mutual recognition in the area of detention, within the limits of the EU's competence. The principle of presumption of innocence has been developed over the years. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has held that Article 6(2) of the ECHR encompasses three key requirements: (i) the right not to be publicly presented as convicted by public authorities before the final judgment; (ii) the fact that the burden of proof is on prosecution and that any reasonable doubts on guilt should benefit the accused; and (iii) the right of the accused to be informed of the accusation against him. The right to be present at trial is also an essential right of defence. IMPACT ASSESSMENT: the Commission’s analysis considers that there exist points in which legal safeguards should be improved with regard to certain aspects the presumption of innocence to strengthen this fundamental right. CONTENT: the draft directive aims to lay down minimum rules concerning certain aspects of the right of suspects and accused persons to be presumed innocent unless proven guilty by a final judgment. The proposal covers the following rights: 1) The right not to be presented guilty by public authorities before the final judgment : the ECtHR established as one of the basic aspects of the principle of presumption of innocence the fact that a court or public official may not publicly present the suspects or accused persons as if they were guilty of an offence if they have not been tried and convicted of it by a final judgment. 2) The burden of proof is on prosecution and any reasonable doubts on the guilt should benefit the accused: this presupposes that a court's judgment must be based on evidence as put before it and not on mere allegations or assumptions. 3) The right not to incriminate one-self and not to cooperate and the right to remain silent: these rights lie at the heart of the notion of a fair trial under Article 6 of the ECHR. · the right not to incriminate oneself presupposes that the prosecution in a criminal case seeks to prove the case against the accused without resort to evidence obtained through methods of coercion or oppression; · the right to remain silent must be ensured and any inferences drawn from the fact that suspects make use of this right should be excluded . Suspects should be promptly informed of their right to remain silent. Such information should also refer to the content of the right to remain silent and of the consequences of renouncing to it and of invoking it. 4) Right to be present at one's trial : the proposal lays down this right, established by the ECtHR, of an accused to be present at the trial and also establishes limited exceptions to this right, in line with the Charter, the ECHR and EU law. It provides that Member States must ensure that the right to be present applies to any trial aiming at assessing the question of the guilt of the accused person (both conviction and acquittal decisions). Non-regression clause : the proposal aims to ensure that setting common minimum standards does not have the effect of lowering standards in certain Member States and that the standards set in the Charter and in the ECHR are maintained.
  • date: 2014-01-13T00:00:00 type: Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading body: EP
  • date: 2014-10-10T00:00:00 type: Debate in Council body: CSL docs: url: http://register.consilium.europa.eu/content/out?lang=EN&typ=SET&i=SMPL&ROWSPP=25&RESULTSET=1&NRROWS=500&DOC_LANCD=EN&ORDERBY=DOC_DATE+DESC&CONTENTS=3336*&MEET_DATE=10/10/2014 title: 3336
  • date: 2014-10-20T00:00:00 type: Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading body: EP
  • date: 2014-12-04T00:00:00 type: Debate in Council body: CSL docs: url: http://register.consilium.europa.eu/content/out?lang=EN&typ=SET&i=SMPL&ROWSPP=25&RESULTSET=1&NRROWS=500&DOC_LANCD=EN&ORDERBY=DOC_DATE+DESC&CONTENTS=3354*&MEET_DATE=04/12/2014 title: 3354
  • date: 2015-03-31T00:00:00 type: Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading body: EP
  • date: 2015-03-31T00:00:00 type: Committee decision to open interinstitutional negotiations with report adopted in committee body: EP
  • date: 2015-04-21T00:00:00 type: Committee report tabled for plenary, 1st reading/single reading body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A8-2015-0133&language=EN title: A8-0133/2015 summary: The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs adopted the report by Nathalie GRIESBECK (ADLE, FR) on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the strengthening of certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and of the right to be present at trial in criminal proceedings. The committee recommended that Parliament’s position adopted in first reading following the ordinary legislative procedure should amend the Commission proposal as follows: Scope : Members specified that the Directive should apply to criminal proceedings, as well as similar proceedings of a criminal nature leading to comparable sanctions of a punitive and deterrent nature, such as deprivation of liberty, irrespective of whether or not the proceedings were classified as criminal. Suspects must be presumed innocent until proven guilty by a final decision delivered according to law, in a trial at which they have had all the safeguards necessary for their defence. Public references to guilt before proven guilty : statements must not reflect an opinion that the person was guilty and be of such a nature as to potentially encourage the public to believe the person was guilty. Public authorities must be prohibited from providing to the media any information concerning ongoing criminal proceedings that might undermine the principle of the presumption of innocence. In the event of a breach of those requirements, independent investigations must take place on the breach and ensure that the suspect or accused person whose right to the presumption of innocence had been violated had access to an effective remedy. Suspects must not presented in court or in public in a manner that suggested their guilt , before final conviction. Burden of proof : Members considered that the reversal of the burden of proof in criminal proceedings was unacceptable. The principle that the burden of proof rested with the prosecution must be left untouched. The burden of proof in establishing the guilt of suspects or accused persons is on the prosecution and any doubt is to benefit the suspect or accused person. Use of force : Members stressed that authorities must not use coercion in order to obtain information from a suspect or an accused person. The Directive must state clearly that the use of physical or psychological violence or threats against suspects or accused persons was banned, on the grounds that it constituted a violation of the right to human dignity and the right to a fair trial. Right not to incriminate oneself and not to cooperate : the suspect or accused persons must be informed of their right not to incriminate themselves and not to cooperate, prior to any questioning by public authorities, and prior to the suspect giving testimony in court as well as at the moment of the arrest. Exercise of the right not to incriminate oneself and not to cooperate shall never be considered as a corroboration of the facts or as a reason in itself to adopt or maintain measures which restrict liberty before the final decision on the issue of guilt is taken. Nevertheless cooperative behaviour by the suspect or accused person might be taken into account as a mitigating factor, when deciding the actual penalty. Right to remain silent : the report sets out what constituted in practice the exercise of the right to silence and stated that the exercise of this right must never be considered as a corroboration of the facts, nor as a reason in itself to adopt or maintain measures which restricted liberty before the final decision on the issue of guilt was taken. Right to be present at one's trial: Members wanted to place strict limits to cases where judgment might be rendered in the absence of the accused. Accordingly, proceedings might be conducted in the absence of the accused person only if: the accused person, after being duly informed that he or she faced trial, explicitly and unequivocally renounced the right to be present, and only if he or she were represented in the proceedings; if the offence which gave rise to the proceedings was punishable by a fine , and the suspect or accused person must always be present if the offence was punishable by a term of imprisonment. Right to a new trial : with a view to preserving the right to a fair trial, Members established that examination of new evidence might take place. Where the suspects were not present at the trial, the person concerned had the right to a new trial which allowed a fresh determination of the merits of the case – with the opportunity to secure new evidence and, if appropriate, to call the previous evidence into question through cross-examination. Vulnerable persons : in the implementation of the Directive the particular needs of vulnerable persons who became suspects or accused persons must be taken into account. Report: 2 years after the deadline for transposition, the Commission shall submit a report assessing the extent to which the Member States had taken the necessary measures to comply with the Directive.
  • date: 2016-01-19T00:00:00 type: Debate in Parliament body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?secondRef=TOC&language=EN&reference=20160119&type=CRE title: Debate in Parliament
  • date: 2016-01-20T00:00:00 type: Results of vote in Parliament body: EP docs: url: https://oeil.secure.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/sda.do?id=25590&l=en title: Results of vote in Parliament
  • date: 2016-01-20T00:00:00 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P8-TA-2016-0011 title: T8-0011/2016 summary: The European Parliament adopted by 577 votes to 48 with 86 abstentions, a legislative resolution on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the strengthening of certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and of the right to be present at trial in criminal proceedings. Parliament’s position, adopted in first reading following the ordinary legislative procedure, amended the Commission proposal as follows: Scope: the Directive applies to natural persons who are suspects or accused persons in criminal proceedings. It applies at all stages of the criminal proceedings , from the moment when a person is suspected or accused of having committed a criminal offence, or an alleged criminal offence, until the decision on the final determination of whether that person has committed the criminal offence concerned has become definitive . Legal actions and remedies that are available only once that decision has become definitive, including actions before the European Court of Human Rights, should not fall within the scope of the Directive. Public references to guilt : public statements made by public authorities, and judicial decisions, other than those on guilt, must not refer to that person as being guilty for as long as a suspect or an accused person has not been proved guilty according to law, appropriate measures must be available in the event of a breach of the obligation. However, the obligation not to refer to suspects or accused persons as being guilty should not prevent public authorities from publicly disseminating information on the criminal proceedings where this is strictly necessary for reasons relating to the criminal investigation, such as when video material is released and the public is asked to help in identifying the alleged perpetrator of the criminal offence or to the public interest. Presentation of suspects and accused persons : competent authorities should abstain from presenting suspects or accused persons as being guilty, in court or in public, through the use of measures of physical restraint , such as handcuffs, glass boxes, cages and leg irons), Member States may apply measures of physical restraint that are required for case-specific reasons, relating to security or to the prevention of suspects or accused persons from absconding or from having contact with third persons. Burden of proof : the text states that that the burden of proof for establishing the guilt of suspects and accused persons is on the prosecution. However, in various Member States not only the prosecution, but also judges and competent courts are charged with seeking both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence . Parliament provided that Member States which do not have an adversarial system should be able to maintain their current system provided that it complies with the Directive and with other relevant provisions of Union and international law. In addition, any doubt as to the question of guilt must be to benefit the suspect or accused person, including where the court assesses whether the person concerned should be acquitted. Right to remain silent and right not to incriminate oneself : suspects and accused persons will have the right to remain silent in relation to the criminal offence that they are suspected or accused of having committed, and have the right not to incriminate themselves. These rights imply that competent authorities should not compel suspects or accused persons to provide information if those persons do not wish to do so. The exercise of the right to remain silent or the right not to incriminate oneself should not be used against a suspect or accused person and should not, in itself, be considered to be evidence that the person concerned has committed the criminal offence concerned. This should be without prejudice to national rules concerning the assessment of evidence by courts or judges, provided that the rights of the defence are respected. Judicial authorities may take into account, when sentencing, cooperative behaviour of suspects and accused persons. Right to be present at the trial : the amended text states that it should also be possible to hold a trial which may result in a decision on guilt or innocence in the absence of a suspect or accused person where that person has been informed of the trial and has given a mandate to a lawyer who was- appointed by that person or by the State - to represent him or her at the trial and who represented the suspect or accused person. Where Member States provide for the possibility of holding trials in the absence of suspects or accused persons but the conditions for taking a decision in the absence of a particular suspect or accused person are not met, for example because the person has fled or absconded, the amended text states that it should nevertheless be possible to take a decision in the absence of the suspect or accused person and to enforce that decision. In that case, Member States should ensure that when suspects are informed of the decision, in particular when they are apprehended, they should also be informed of the possibility of challenging the decision and of the right to a new trial or to another legal remedy . In case of a new trial , Member States shall ensure that those suspects and accused persons have the right to be present, to participate effectively, in accordance with procedures under national law, and to exercise the rights of the defence. Remedies: Members stipulated that in the assessment of statements made by suspects or accused persons or of evidence obtained in breach of the right to remain silent or the right not to incriminate oneself, the rights of the defence and the fairness of the proceedings must be respected.
  • date: 2016-02-12T00:00:00 type: Act adopted by Council after Parliament's 1st reading body: EP/CSL
  • date: 2016-02-12T00:00:00 type: End of procedure in Parliament body: EP
  • date: 2016-03-09T00:00:00 type: Final act signed body: CSL
  • date: 2016-03-11T00:00:00 type: Final act published in Official Journal summary: PURPOSE: to ensure the right to a fair trial by setting out common minimum standards on certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and of the right to be present at trial in criminal proceedings. NON-LEGISLATIVE ACT: Directive (EU) 2016/343 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the strengthening of certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and of the right to be present at the trial in criminal proceedings. CONTENT: this Directive lays down common minimum rules concerning: (a) certain aspects of the presumption of innocence in criminal proceedings; (b) the right to be present at the trial in criminal proceedings. It upholds the fundamental rights and principles recognised by the Charter and by the ECHR. It aims to enhance the right to a fair trial in criminal proceedings by laying down common minimum rules concerning certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and the right to be present at the trial. This Directive aims to strengthen the trust of Member States in each other's criminal justice systems and thus to facilitate mutual recognition of decisions in criminal matters. Scope : this Directive applies to natural persons who are suspects or accused persons in criminal proceedings. It applies at all stages of the criminal proceedings , from the moment when a person is suspected or accused of having committed a criminal offence, or an alleged criminal offence, until the decision on the final determination of whether that person has committed the criminal offence concerned has become definitive. Presumption of innocence : Member States shall ensure that suspects and accused persons are presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law . Under this Directive: Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that, for as long as a suspect or an accused person has not been proved guilty according to law, public statements made by public authorities, and judicial decisions, other than those on guilt, do not refer to that person as being guilty. This shall be without prejudice to acts of the prosecution which aim to prove the guilt of the suspect or accused person, and to preliminary decisions of a procedural nature, which are taken by judicial or other competent authorities and which are based on suspicion or incriminating evidence; public statements made by public authorities, and judicial decisions, other than those on guilt, must not refer to that person as being guilty for as long as a suspect or an accused person has not been proved guilty according to law; the competent authorities should abstain from presenting suspects or accused persons as being guilty, in court or in public, through the use of measures of physical restraint , unless the use of such measures is required for case-specific reasons, either relating to security; the burden of proof for establishing the guilt of suspects and accused persons is on the prosecution, and any doubt should benefit the suspect or accused person. Right to remain silent and right not to incriminate oneself : the exercise by suspects and accused persons of the right to remain silent or of the right not to incriminate oneself shall not be used against them and shall not be considered to be evidence that they have committed the criminal offence concerned. With regard to minor offences , the conduct of the proceedings, or certain stages thereof, may take place in writing or without questioning of the suspect or accused person by the competent authorities in relation to the offence concerned, provided that this complies with the right to a fair trial. Right to be present at the trial : Member States shall ensure that suspects and accused persons have the right to be present at their trial. They may provide that a trial which can result in a decision on the guilt or innocence of a suspect or accused person can be held in his or her absence, provided that: the suspect or accused person has been informed, in due time, of the trial and of the consequences of non-appearance; or the suspect or accused person, having been informed of the trial, is represented by a mandated lawyer, who was appointed either by the suspect or accused person or by the State. Where Member States provide for the possibility of holding trials in the absence of suspects or accused persons but it is not possible to comply with the conditions because a suspect or accused person cannot be located despite reasonable efforts having been made, Member States may provide that a decision can nevertheless be taken and enforced. In that case, Member States shall ensure that when suspects or accused persons are informed of the decision, in particular when they are apprehended, they are also informed of the possibility to challenge the decision and of the right to a new trial or to another legal remedy. As regards the right to a new trial , Member States shall ensure that those suspects and accused persons have the right to be present, to participate effectively, in accordance with procedures under national law, and to exercise the rights of the defence. Remedies : Member States shall ensure that suspects and accused persons have an effective remedy if their rights under this Directive are breached. Data collection and reporting : Member States shall, by 1 April 2020 and every three years thereafter, send to the Commission available data showing how the rights laid down in this Directive have been implemented. The Commission shall, by 1 April 2021 , submit a report on the implementation of this Directive. ENTRY INTO FORCE: 31.3.2016. TRANSPOSITION: 1.4.2018. docs: title: Directive 2016/343 url: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/smartapi/cgi/sga_doc?smartapi!celexplus!prod!CELEXnumdoc&lg=EN&numdoc=32016L0343 title: OJ L 065 11.03.2016, p. 0001 url: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=OJ:L:2016:065:TOC
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  • The European Parliament adopted by 577 votes to 48 with 86 abstentions, a legislative resolution on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the strengthening of certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and of the right to be present at trial in criminal proceedings.

    Parliament’s position, adopted in first reading following the ordinary legislative procedure, amended the Commission proposal as follows:

    Scope: the Directive applies to natural persons who are suspects or accused persons in criminal proceedings. It applies at all stages of the criminal proceedings, from the moment when a person is suspected or accused of having committed a criminal offence, or an alleged criminal offence, until the decision on the final determination of whether that person has committed the criminal offence concerned has become definitive.

    Legal actions and remedies that are available only once that decision has become definitive, including actions before the European Court of Human Rights, should not fall within the scope of the Directive.

    Public references to guilt: public statements made by public authorities, and judicial decisions, other than those on guilt, must not refer to that person as being guilty for as long as a suspect or an accused person has not been proved guilty according to law, appropriate measures must be available in the event of a breach of the obligation.

    However, the obligation not to refer to suspects or accused persons as being guilty should not prevent public authorities from publicly disseminating information on the criminal proceedings where this is strictly necessary for reasons relating to the criminal investigation, such as when video material is released and the public is asked to help in identifying the alleged perpetrator of the criminal offence or to the public interest.

    Presentation of suspects and accused persons: competent authorities should abstain from presenting suspects or accused persons as being guilty, in court or in public, through the use of measures of physical restraint, such as handcuffs, glass boxes, cages and leg irons),

    Member States may apply measures of physical restraint that are required for case-specific reasons, relating to security or to the prevention of suspects or accused persons from absconding or from having contact with third persons.

    Burden of proof: the text states that that the burden of proof for establishing the guilt of suspects and accused persons is on the prosecution. However, in various Member States not only the prosecution, but also judges and competent courts are charged with seeking both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence. Parliament provided that Member States which do not have an adversarial system should be able to maintain their current system provided that it complies with the Directive and with other relevant provisions of Union and international law.

    In addition, any doubt as to the question of guilt must be to benefit the suspect or accused person, including where the court assesses whether the person concerned should be acquitted.

    Right to remain silent and right not to incriminate oneself: suspects and accused persons will have the right to remain silent in relation to the criminal offence that they are suspected or accused of having committed, and have the right not to incriminate themselves. These rights imply that competent authorities should not compel suspects or accused persons to provide information if those persons do not wish to do so.

    The exercise of the right to remain silent or the right not to incriminate oneself should not be used against a suspect or accused person and should not, in itself, be considered to be evidence that the person concerned has committed the criminal offence concerned. This should be without prejudice to national rules concerning the assessment of evidence by courts or judges, provided that the rights of the defence are respected.

    Judicial authorities may take into account, when sentencing, cooperative behaviour of suspects and accused persons.

    Right to be present at the trial: the amended text states that it should also be possible to hold a trial which may result in a decision on guilt or innocence in the absence of a suspect or accused person where that person has been informed of the trial and has given a mandate to a lawyer who was- appointed by that person or by the State - to represent him or her at the trial and who represented the suspect or accused person.

    Where Member States provide for the possibility of holding trials in the absence of suspects or accused persons but the conditions for taking a decision in the absence of a particular suspect or accused person are not met, for example because the person has fled or absconded, the amended text states that it should nevertheless be possible to take a decision in the absence of the suspect or accused person and to enforce that decision.

    In that case, Member States should ensure that when suspects are informed of the decision, in particular when they are apprehended, they should also be informed of the possibility of challenging the decision and of the right to a new trial or to another legal remedy.  In case of a new trial, Member States shall ensure that those suspects and accused persons have the right to be present, to participate effectively, in accordance with procedures under national law, and to exercise the rights of the defence.

    Remedies: Members stipulated that in the assessment of statements made by suspects or accused persons or of evidence obtained in breach of the right to remain silent or the right not to incriminate oneself, the rights of the defence and the fairness of the proceedings must be respected.

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  • The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs adopted the report by Nathalie GRIESBECK (ADLE, FR) on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the strengthening of certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and of the right to be present at trial in criminal proceedings.

    The committee recommended that Parliament’s position adopted in first reading following the ordinary legislative procedure should amend the Commission proposal as follows:

    Scope: Members specified that the Directive should apply to criminal proceedings, as well as similar proceedings of a criminal nature leading to comparable sanctions of a punitive and deterrent nature, such as deprivation of liberty, irrespective of whether or not the proceedings were classified as criminal. Suspects must be presumed innocent until proven guilty by a final decision delivered according to law, in a trial at which they have had all the safeguards necessary for their defence.

    Public references to guilt before proven guilty: statements must not reflect an opinion that the person was guilty and be of such a nature as to potentially encourage the public to believe the person was guilty. Public authorities must be prohibited from providing to the media any information concerning ongoing criminal proceedings that might undermine the principle of the presumption of innocence.

    In the event of a breach of those requirements, independent investigations must take place on the breach and ensure that the suspect or accused person whose right to the presumption of innocence had been violated had access to an effective remedy.

    Suspects must not presented in court or in public in a manner that suggested their guilt, before final conviction.

    Burden of proof: Members considered that the reversal of the burden of proof in criminal proceedings was unacceptable. The principle that the burden of proof rested with the prosecution must be left untouched. The burden of proof in establishing the guilt of suspects or accused persons is on the prosecution and any doubt is to benefit the suspect or accused person. 

    Use of force: Members stressed that authorities must not use coercion in order to obtain information from a suspect or an accused person. The Directive must state clearly that the use of physical or psychological violence or threats against suspects or accused persons was banned, on the grounds that it constituted a violation of the right to human dignity and the right to a fair trial.

    Right not to incriminate oneself and not to cooperate: the suspect or accused persons must be informed of their right not to incriminate themselves and not to cooperate, prior to any questioning by public authorities, and prior to the suspect giving testimony in court as well as at the moment of the arrest. Exercise of the right not to incriminate oneself and not to cooperate shall never be considered as a corroboration of the facts or as a reason in itself to adopt or maintain measures which restrict liberty before the final decision on the issue of guilt is taken.

    Nevertheless cooperative behaviour by the suspect or accused person might be taken into account as a mitigating factor, when deciding the actual penalty.

    Right to remain silent: the report sets out what constituted in practice the exercise of the right to silence and stated that the exercise of this right must never be considered as a corroboration of the facts, nor as a reason in itself to adopt or maintain measures which restricted liberty before the final decision on the issue of guilt was taken.

    Right to be present at one's trial: Members wanted to place strict limits to cases where judgment might be rendered in the absence of the accused. Accordingly, proceedings might be conducted in the absence of the accused person only if:

    • the accused person, after being duly informed that he or she faced trial, explicitly and unequivocally renounced the right to be present, and only if he or she were represented in the proceedings;
    • if the offence which gave rise to the proceedings was punishable by a fine, and the suspect or accused person must always be present if the offence was punishable by a term of imprisonment.

    Right to a new trial: with a view to preserving the right to a fair trial, Members established that examination of new evidence might take place. Where the suspects were not present at the trial, the person concerned had the right to a new trial which allowed a fresh determination of the merits of the case– with the opportunity to secure new evidence and, if appropriate, to call the previous evidence into question through cross-examination.

    Vulnerable persons: in the implementation of the Directive the particular needs of vulnerable persons who became suspects or accused persons must be taken into account.

    Report: 2 years after the deadline for transposition, the Commission shall submit a report assessing the extent to which the Member States had taken the necessary measures to comply with the Directive.

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  • PURPOSE: to ensure the right to a fair trial by setting out common minimum standards on certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and of the right to be present at trial in criminal proceedings

    PROPOSED ACT: Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council.

    ROLE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: the European Parliament decides in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure and on an equal footing with the Council.

    BACKGROUND: the Stockholm Programme put a strong focus on the strengthening of the rights of individuals in criminal proceedings. The European Council invited the Commission to consider establishing minimum procedural rights for suspects or accused persons, and to address the issue of presumption of innocence, in order to promote better cooperation in that area.

    Up to now, three measures have been adopted: Directive 2010/64/EU on the right to interpretation and translation, Directive 2012/13/EU on the right to information and Directive 2013/48/EU on the right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings.

    The proposal continues this work and is part of a series of measures on criminal justice which includes: (i) a directive on provisional legal aid for suspects or accused persons deprived of liberty and legal aid in European arrest warrant proceedings; (ii) a directive on procedural safeguards for children suspected or accused in criminal proceedings 

    Moreover, on 14 June 2011, the Commission published a Green Paper on the application of EU criminal justice legislation in the field of detention to reflect on ways to strengthen the application of the principle of mutual recognition in the area of detention, within the limits of the EU's competence.

    The principle of presumption of innocence has been developed over the years. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has held that Article 6(2) of the ECHR encompasses three key requirements: (i) the right not to be publicly presented as convicted by public authorities before the final judgment; (ii) the fact that the burden of proof is on prosecution and that any reasonable doubts on guilt should benefit the accused; and (iii) the right of the accused to be informed of the accusation against him.

    The right to be present at trial is also an essential right of defence.

    IMPACT ASSESSMENT: the Commission’s analysis considers that there exist points in which legal safeguards should be improved with regard to certain aspects the presumption of innocence to strengthen this fundamental right.

    CONTENT: the draft directive aims to lay down minimum rules concerning certain aspects of the right of suspects and accused persons to be presumed innocent unless proven guilty by a final judgment.

    The proposal covers the following rights:

    1) The right not to be presented guilty by public authorities before the final judgment: the ECtHR established as one of the basic aspects of the principle of presumption of innocence the fact that a court or public official may not publicly present the suspects or accused persons as if they were guilty of an offence if they have not been tried and convicted of it by a final judgment.

    2) The burden of proof is on prosecution and any reasonable doubts on the guilt should benefit the accused: this presupposes that a court's judgment must be based on evidence as put before it and not on mere allegations or assumptions.

    3) The right not to incriminate one-self and not to cooperate and the right to remain silent: these rights lie at the heart of the notion of a fair trial under Article 6 of the ECHR.

    ·        the right not to incriminate oneself presupposes that the prosecution in a criminal case seeks to prove the case against the accused without resort to evidence obtained through methods of coercion or oppression;

    ·        the right to remain silent must be ensured and any inferences drawn from the fact that suspects make use of this right should be excluded.

    Suspects should be promptly informed of their right to remain silent. Such information should also refer to the content of the right to remain silent and of the consequences of renouncing to it and of invoking it.

    4) Right to be present at one's trial: the proposal lays down this right, established by the ECtHR, of an accused to be present at the trial and also establishes limited exceptions to this right, in line with the Charter, the ECHR and EU law. It provides that Member States must ensure that the right to be present applies to any trial aiming at assessing the question of the guilt of the accused person (both conviction and acquittal decisions).

    Non-regression clause: the proposal aims to ensure that setting common minimum standards does not have the effect of lowering standards in certain Member States and that the standards set in the Charter and in the ECHR are maintained.

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    2013/0407(COD)
    subtype
    Legislation
    legal_basis
    Treaty on the Functioning of the EU TFEU 082-p2
    stage_reached
    Preparatory phase in Parliament
    instrument
    Directive
    title
    Criminal proceedings: strengthening of certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and of the right to be present at trial
    type
    COD - Ordinary legislative procedure (ex-codecision procedure)
    subject