As part of the so-called Stockholm Programme the EU made sure to give more rights to suspects and accused persons (such as the right to information, translation and of access to a lawyer). This proposal now focuses on children accused in a criminal case.
Imagine you (this applies to people under the age of 18) or your child are suspected of a crime. Perhaps even abroad. Wouldn't you prefer to know that there are some minimum safeguards that help your children to understand and follow their case? Making sure you are getting a fair trial? Completely independent from where in the EU your case is handled. Just sayin'...
The proposal presented by (back then) Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding wants to establish minimum rules focusing on - among others - these points:
MEPs modified this proposal slightly giving the children rights more detail, e.g. should they not only be present at their trial but also have the possibility to be heard.
The proposal was already published in 2013. Over the course of 2015 Parliament (the responsible Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs), Council and Commission negotiated in Trialogue reaching an agreement at the end of the year. In March 2016 the new rules were formally adopted by the EP plenary and in April 2016 by the Council. The law was published in the EU Official Journal in May 2016. Member States will have three years to transpose the provisions into their national laws. Denmark, the UK and Ireland have opted out of this directive and will not be bound by these new rules.
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