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Europeans need cross-border safety and human rights

May 7, 2009 2:09 PM

The European Parliament has called for greater emphasis in future EU cooperation on criminal justice on practical measures to secure respect for suspects' and victims' rights, and on training of judges, prosecutors and defence lawyers, as well as effective cross-border liaison for prosecution and conviction of serious criminals.

A report approved by MEPs also demanded tougher monitoring of implementation by EU countries of European laws including human rights provisions, and reviews of the quality of national legal systems.

Sarah Ludford (LibDem, UK) commented:

"Instruments like the European Arrest Warrant are based on mutual trust justifying recognition of national legal decisions. EU states must show that they deserve that trust by full adherence to the standards of the European Convention on Human Rights and by not abusing European arrest warrants for trivial offences or in a way that impinges on civil liberties."

"EU citizens rightly expect cross-border cooperation to stop the big criminals escaping justice, and that cooperation must improve. But those who travel and work or start a business in another European country also need the security of knowing that if they fall foul of the law - like hauliers finding someone stashed drugs in the back of their lorry - they will get fair treatment rather than find they are expected to explain themselves in Italian, Spanish or Greek without a defence lawyer."

"It is high time that EU governments got their act together and ensured that people caught up in criminal justice systems elsewhere in Europe are made aware of their rights and obtain adequate legal assistance and interpretation to ensure miscarriages of justice are averted."