New EU directive on presumption of innocence of accused comes into effect
New European Union rules guaranteeing that anyone accused or suspected of a crime is innocent until proven guilty apply since April 1 2018, the European Commission said on April 3.
The directive ensures that public authorities and judicial decisions are prohibited from making any public references to guilt, before the person is proven guilty.
It also gives people the right to remain silent. In case the right to be present at trial is breached, people have the right to a new trial.
The rules will also better protect peoples’ right to remain silent and right to be present at their trial, the European Commission said.
The directive will ensure people across the EU always benefit from these procedural rights, which are currently not protected in the same way in every EU country, the Commission said.
Vĕra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said: “Nine million people face criminal proceedings across the EU every year. Presumption of innocence is a fundamental right and must be respected in practice everywhere in Europe. Every citizen must always be guaranteed a fair trial.
“I call on all member states to implement the rules as quickly as possible,” Jourová said.
The directive is part of a package of six laws providing common minimum standards on procedural rights of suspects and accused persons in criminal proceedings.
The procedural rights package ensures people have common rights whether they are accused or suspected in their home country or elsewhere in the EU, and allows for better judicial co-operation across the EU, the European Commission said.