Press Release

Trust vital for effective cross-border criminal justice

EU rules essential to build trust in the EU’s area of justice are seldom invoked, potentially hindering the fair treatment of people involved in criminal proceedings. Two new reports from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) offer detailed guidance for the EU and its Member States to boost the effectivity of the criminal justice system.

Protecting the rights of people involved in criminal proceedings is a hallmark of fair justice systems,” says FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty. “When it comes to justice across borders, we need to boost trust between national judiciaries. This is the only way we can ensure that people will be fairly treated.

The reports examine EU laws and how their use in varying national contexts affects individuals during criminal proceedings and sanctioning, before and after trial. They also show how rights protection can enhance trust between Member States in cross-border cases and how these laws can significantly improve the enjoyment of fundamental rights in the EU.

Rights of suspected and accused persons across the EU: translation, interpretation and information examines the right to information and translation and the right to interpretation of suspects and the accused. These rights ensure effective participation in criminal proceedings and overall fairness during trial, regardless of where in the EU the proceedings take place.

Criminal detention and alternatives: fundamental rights aspects in EU cross-border transfers examines issues of criminal detention and alternatives in cross-border transfers. Such mutual recognition between Member States depends on trust, which in turn hinges very much on fundamental rights. For instance, detention should be used as a last resort and alternatives used more, in line with human rights standards. As well as helping the reintegration process, alternatives to detention are often cheaper.

Both reports note that criminal proceedings should also consider the specific needs of people with disabilities or children, in accordance with European and international human rights standards. This includes accessible information about individual rights, and ensuring people are transferred to places with adequate detention conditions.

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Notes to editors:

  • The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) provides evidence-based advice to EU and national decision makers, thereby contributing to more informed and better targeted debates and policies on fundamental rights.
  • More on the Agency’s work on access to justice is available online.
  • The reports are being launched during a FRA-Slovak EU Presidency event on cross-border justice for all in Bratislava from 9 to 10 November.