On 27 October, the deadline for member states to implement the first EU law on rights of suspects in criminal procedures will expire. The EU law guarantees citizens who are arrested or accused of a crime the right to obtain interpretation throughout criminal proceedings, including when receiving legal advice, in their own language and in all courts in the EU. The law was proposed by the European Commission in 2010 (IP/10/249) and adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers in a record time of just nine months (IP/10/1305).
“This can be an historic moment for justice in Europe: the first ever law on fair-trial rights for citizens will become a concrete reality – if member states live up to their legal obligations,” said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU’s justice commissioner. “This is the first to enter into application from three proposals made by the European Commission to guarantee fair trial rights for people everywhere in the EU, whether they are at home or abroad. The Commission is delivering on its promises to strengthen citizens’ rights everywhere in Europe. I expect Member States to deliver too. The European Commission will soon report on who has done their homework. We will not shy away from naming and shaming – after all, this law goes to the very heart of citizens’ rights.” More.