What happens when a person suspected or accused of a crime faces criminal proceedings in a language they do not understand? How are suspects or persons accused of a criminal offence informed about their rights in criminal proceedings? This project looks into issues surrounding the right to interpretation and translation and the right to information in criminal proceedings in the EU.
Project start date: December 2014
Report / Paper / Summary
Protecting the human rights of individuals subject to criminal proceedings is an essential element of the rule of law. Persons who are suspected or accused of crimes in countries other than their own are particularly vulnerable, making appropriate procedural safeguards especially crucial. This report reviews Member States’ legal frameworks, policies and practices regarding the important rights provided in these directives, including with respect to individuals whose needs may require additional attention, such as persons with disabilities and children.
In 2014, the European Commission requested FRA to look at specific criminal procedural rights of suspects and the accused across EU Member States. The project identifies promising practices in the implementation of EU law, namely the Directive on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings (2010/64/EU of 20 October 2010), and the Directive on the right to information in criminal proceedings (2012/13/EU of 22 May 2012).
The rights to interpretation, translation and information in criminal proceedings allow suspects and accused people to follow and actively participate in judicial proceedings, in accordance with existing international standards; in particular those arising from the right to a fair trial under Article 47 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The findings aim to advise EU and national policy makers on how to recognise potential areas for improvement. They also aim to help in the identification of practical means of effectively protecting these procedural rights.
The data collection will be primarily based on desk research with respect to relevant legislation, policies and practices in each Member State. It will also cover the relevant standards of the Council of Europe and the United Nations. The results will be presented in a comparative report expected to be published late 2016. It will contain an overview of promising practices and the opportunities for applying the rights to interpretation, translation and information to criminal proceedings, as well as the fundamental rights implications for the people concerned across the EU.
The research findings will feed into existing FRA evidence in the area of access to justice, including the transfer of people sentenced or awaiting trial, as well as other areas, such as asylum and immigration.