First Regional Consultation “Right to Information”
On Wed, 5 April 2022- Thu, 6 April 2022, the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights (LBI-GMR) organised a regional consultation with a thematic focus on the right to information in police custody. The event was part of an EU-wide consultation series of the project From Law to Practice: Strengthening Procedural Rights in Police Custody, in which the LBI-GMR, together with partner organisations from Spain, Romania, Ireland and Belgium, is researching best practice examples in the area of the rights of suspects at the earliest stage of criminal proceedings and developing possible implementation pathways.
The event brought together criminal justice actors, policymakers and representatives of oversight mechanisms and academia from the five project countries. In various presentations and lively discussions, the participants sought common grounds for more accessible Letter of Rights, with a special focus in the situation of minors and people with intellectual and/or psychosocial disabilities. The Letter of Rights informs suspects in writing about their rights in police custody. Due to its complexity in many countries, suspects often do not understand their rights and as a consequence even waive some of them.
Studies and best practices examples presented at the conference showed that a simplified Letter of Rights, amongst others through plain language, pictograms and videos, increases the accessibility of procedural rights for suspects and enables an informed consent. However, the participants agreed that structural hurdles and obstacles still need to be deconstructed and overcome to facilitate the widespread use of a simplified Letter of Rights within the European Union.
Each of the four regional consultations is focusing on one specific area of the rights of suspects and accused persons: The focus of the kick-off consultation in Vienna was the right to information, and it will be followed by events on the right to access to a lawyer (Bucharest, Tue, 17 May 2022– Wed, 18 May 2022), legal aid (Madrid, Tue, 21 June 2022 – Wed, 22 June 2022) and audio-visual recordings (Dublin, Mon, 18, to Tue, 19 July 2022) .