European Parliament Approves Directive on the Presumption of Innocence

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Author: 

Michael Plachta

Date Published: 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Volume: 

31

Issue: 

4

Subject Areas: 

Administration of Justice
Civil Rights
Comparative and International Law
Confidentiality
European Court of Human Rights
Fair Trial
Fair Use
Human Rights
Legal Ethics
Prosecution
Self-Incrimination

Geographic Identifier: 

European Union

Abstract: 

On March 31st, 2015, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the European Parliament (EP) approved a draft directive on the protection of the presumption of innocence. MEPs inserted amendments to prevent statements by public authorities that might suggest a suspect is guilty before a final conviction, ensure that the burden of proof stays with the prosecution and guarantee the rights to remain silent, not to incriminate oneself and to be present at trial. The amended rules would therefore require EU countries to forbid their public authorities from disclosing information, “including in interviews and in communications issued through or in conjunction with the media”, or from leaking information to the press “which could create prejudice or bias against the suspect or accused person before final conviction in court”, explains the committee.