Several months following its adoption by the European Parliament, the Directive implementing Measure B of the Roadmap of procedural safeguards in criminal proceedings has finally been adopted by the Council on 26 April 2012. You can find the Council’s Press Release and the Final Text of the Directive below. The Directive will come into force after its publication in the Official Journal and has to be implemented within 2 years after its publication.

This Directive establishes that Member States have to inform their citizens that they have, at least, the following rights:

• The right to access to a lawyer;
• Any entitlement to legal advice free of charge and the conditions to obtain it;
• The right to be informed of the accusation;
• The right to interpretation and translation;
• The right to remain silent.

In case of arrest, the Directive imposes among others the obligation for Member States to provide a Letter of Rights to suspects in Criminal Proceedings, containing at least information on the aforementioned rights and the following rights, in a language that they understand:

• The right to access to the materials of the case;
• The right to have consular authorities and one person informed;
• The right of access to urgent medical assistance;
• The right to know how long you can be deprived of liberty in the country concerned before being brought before a judicial authority after arrest;
• Information on the possibilities of challenging the lawfulness of the arrest, obtaining the review of the detention on making a request for provisional release.

Citizens arrested under EAW proceedings will receive a Letter of Rights containing information on their rights limited to the Executing State and according to the Framework Decision on the European Arrest Warrant.
We welcome this measure, but it has to be underlined that although it improves citizens’ rights, it has shortcomings. Furthermore it is merely a small step in the long road to reestablish the balance between prosecuting authorities’ powers and citizens’ rights throughout the EU.
Therefore we urge the EU and Member States’ institutions to adopt the remaining Measures of the Roadmap according to high rule of law standards and not only minimum requirements, as well as to implement those measures in a way that provides European citizens with truly effective rights and remedies.

Click here to access the the final text of the Directive as adopted on 11 April 2012 by the Council.

Please click here for the Press Release: Council approves EU-wide minimum standards as regards the right to information in criminal proceedings, Luxembourg, 26 April 2012 - 9111/12 - PRESSE 168.