Extracts from the press conference by Viviane Reding, on fair trial rights of citizens in criminal proceedings throughout the EU
Type: Summary of press conference
Brussels - EC/Berlaymont
On 27 November 2013, Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, gave a press conference on a package of proposals to strengthen fair trial rights of citizens in criminal proceedings throughout the European Union.
This package of proposals aimed to further strengthen procedural safeguards for citizens in criminal proceedings and to guarantee fair trial rights for all citizens, wherever they were in the European Union. The proposals presented by the Vice-President aimed to guarantee the respect for the presumption of innocence and the right to be present at trial; make sure children have special safeguards when facing criminal proceedings; guarantee access of suspects and accused to provisional legal aid at the early stages of proceedings and especially for people subject to a European Arrest Warrant.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior view of the Berlaymont building in Brussels
||General view of the press conference
||Soundbite by Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, (in ENGLISH): When I became a Commissioner in 2010, I explained that I would very quickly re-orient our policies in the field of criminal law and it was necessary because at that moment, Lady Justice had two swords; it was necessary to take away one more sword and to replace it with a scale. Since then the Commission has put the scale in place. Why? Because there needs to be rights and freedoms as compared to repression and the European law has to guarantee a high standard of rights.
||Cutaway of the audience
||Soundbite by Viviane Reding (in ENGLISH): Three more steps with five proposals to strengthen rights to a fair trial. First: The presumptions of innocence – making sure that you are innocent until proven guilty. This means that the suspect cannot be considered guilty if she or he has never had the chance to defend himself or herself in a trial being present.
||Journalist working on his computer
||Soundbite by Viviane Reding (in ENGLISH): There must be special safeguard for children. You cannot treat a twelve year old as you treat a thirty-five year old. For instance any adult has the right to wave the right to a lawyer. You cannot have a kid in court without the obligation to have an adult, to have a lawyer beside that kid.
||Cutaway of the audience
||Soundbite by Viviane Reding (in ENGLISH): The third directive is on legal aid. Now you do know that we have an arrest warrant, this will continue to exist; so person is handed over to another country; at least at that moment there should be an obligation to the presence of a lawyer and if necessary a lawyer financed by the Member State to which the arrest warrant has given the suspect.
||Departure of Viviane Reding