European Parliament Approves Directive on the Presumption of Innocence

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Thursday, April 2, 2015
Author: 
Michael Plachta
Volume: 
31
Issue: 
4
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.