The European Parliament endorsed on Wednesday the agreement reached with the Council last November on new legislation to ensure that the right to the presumption of innocence in criminal proceedings is applied consistently throughout the EU, so that Member States can have full trust in each other´s criminal justice systems.
Under the directive, that was passed in plenary with 577 votes in favour, 48 against and 86 abstentions, Member states shall take measures to ensure that public authorities do not refer to suspects or accused persons as being guilty "before such persons have been proven guilty according to law" and they will have to abstain from presenting suspects or accused persons as being guilty, through the use of handcuffs, glass boxes, cages or leg irons, unless those measures are strictly necessary.
The negotiators also agreed that the burden of proof in establishing the guilt of suspects or accused persons always lies on the prosecution and any doubt should benefit the accused, while the exercise of the right to remain silent may not be used against a suspect or accused person.
The directive still needs to be formally adopted by the Council. Member states will have two years from the date of its publication in the EU Official Journal to transpose it into national law.
Read more about the details of the agreement here.
Procedure: co-decision (ordinary legislative procedure), first reading agreement.
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