Europe Calls for Language Services for Criminal Suspects
The European Commission (EC) has adopted a proposal that would require European Union (EU) member states to provide interpreting services to individuals suspected or accused of a criminal offense. The proposal requires that interpreting services begin as soon as the individual is informed and that they continue to be offered until the proceedings have ended. EU member states would also have to provide translation of all essential procedural documents. The draft Council Framework Decision is designed to establish minimum rules on procedural rights for defendants in criminal proceedings across the EU. In 2004, the EC proposed the development of interpreting and translation rights as part of larger procedural rights for criminal suspects. At that time, the member states were unable to reach an agreement. The latest proposal focuses only on interpreting and translation rights. Member states would have to provide quality interpreting and translation services free of charge. They would also have to train judges, lawyers, and other court staff to ensure that defendants understand the proceedings. The Council still has to finalize the text and consult the European Parliament. If the proposal is approved, the member states would have to write the provisions into their national law within two years of adoption.
From "Interpretation and Translation for Suspects in Criminal Proceedings"
eGov Monitor (United Kingdom) (07/08/09)
Source: ATA Newsbriefs - July 2009