Designing criminal law

The EU works to ensure that the basic rights of suspects and accused persons are protected. Common minimum standards are necessary for judicial decisions taken by 1 EU country to be recognised by the others.

To turn this area of justice based on mutual recognition and mutual trust into reality, the European Commission is continuously working on strengthening citizens’ rights in criminal proceedings.

When designing and implementing criminal law, it is important for the EU to strike the right balance between on one hand, measures that protect the rights of suspects and accused and on the other, facilitating investigation and prosecution of crime.

Protecting the rights of suspects and accused

Much progress has been made to date, as the EU has adopted 6 directives on procedural rights for suspects and accused persons as set out in the roadmap of 2009. The EU established rules on

With a communication and 2 recommendations on safeguards for vulnerable persons suspected or accused in criminal proceedings, published in 2013, the Commission took further action to protect people in criminal proceedings who are particularly vulnerable. 

Funding programmes

Justice programme 2014-2020

Related rights

Articles 47-49 of the the EU Charter of fundamental rights protect the following rights

What to do if your rights have been breached

The authorities of EU countries are bound to comply with the Charter of fundamental rights only when implementing EU law.

Fundamental rights are protected by your country's constitution. If you feel that your rights have been violated, you must address your complaint to the relevant national authority.