The Bundesrat

Proposal for a DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on procedural safeguards for children suspected or accused in criminal proceedings

Scrutiny details

Subsidiarity deadline: 12/02/2014
Scrutiny Information

Scrutiny date: 14/02/2014

Subsidiarity Concern:

No Important information to exchange

No Veto

Information on parliamentary scrutiny

Referred to Committees on:

European Union Questions
Women and Youth
Internal Affairs
Legal Affairs

Lisbon Treaty procedures
  Political Dialogue

14/02/2014 | Scrutiny results COM20130822

On Friday 14th February 2014 the plenary of the Bundesrat adopted an opinion, that was transmitted to the Commission in the context of the political dialog.


The Bundesrat welcomes the proposals aim to strengthen procedural rights of children in criminal proceedings. It shares the Commission's view that such proposed uniform European minimum standards on procedural safeguards would contribute in the mutual confidence in criminal proceedings in all member states. Therefore, the Bundesrat supports the proposal in general, as it is guaranteeing children procedural safeguards adapted to their special needs resulting from their vulnerability.


Never the less, it considers also, that the proposed directive goes in some points beyond the aimed goal. The Bundesrat criticises in particular the provision giving mandatory access to a lawyer for children being suspected or accused in criminal proceedings (Art. 6 of the proposal). In quiet a number of minor cases, such assistance does not seem to be necessary. At the same time, the obligatory character of the provision makes it impossible to take into account the children's sake - it might be possible that the child will not be assisted.


For the same reasons, the Bundesrat is of the view, that the right to an individual assessment (Art. 7 of the proposal) and the right to medical examination (Art. 8 of the proposal) - which it welcomes explicitly in general - should only apply when objective criteria make it necessary to proceed so.


Concerning the provisions foreseen in Article 9 of the proposal, whereby for the questioning of children interviews should be audio-visually recorded - mandatorily when the child is deprived of liberty -, the Bundesrat considers that this fact could be a stress factor for the children and constrain them in their evidence. Furthermore, it risks being in contradiction with the children's personal rights. Therefore, the Bundesrat asks not to degrade children to an object of the proceedings, but to strengthen their possibilities to exert influence on the course of the proceedings as a subject, taking an active part in it.


Regarding the right to education and training of the child during the period of deprivation of liberty, foreseen in Article 12, Para. 2 letter b of the proposal, the Bundesrat is of the view that the provision should only apply when a certain period of deprivation of liberty is achieved; for only short-time deprivations it seems not being appropriate.


The respect of the children's privacy is a great value for the Bundesrat. Never the less, a general ban of publicly dissemination of information that could lead to the identification of the child - such as foreseen in Article 14 of the proposal - may be in certain cases not in compliance with the public interest in identifying the offender of violent acts or crimes not yet known.


Finally, the Bundesrat is sceptic about the provisions foreseen in Article 19 of the proposal concerning the training of judicial and law enforcement authorities, as the legal basis of the proposal - Article 82 para. 2 letter b TFEU - allows only a harmonisation of criminal proceedings, as far as it gives immediate rights to individuals, but not organisational provisions, having only collateral effects for the parties of the proceeding.

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