Brussels, 28 November 2008
The Vice president Jacques Barrot said: "I believe that the agreement will help reduce the number of pre-trial detainees and reinforce the right to liberty and the presumption of innocence in the European Union seen as a whole".
The excessive use and length of pre-trial detention is one of the main causes of prison overpopulation. Owing to the risk of flight, non-resident suspects are often remanded in custody, while residents benefit from alternative measures.
In general custody pending trial must be regarded as an exceptional measure and the widest possible use should be made of non-custodial supervision measures.
However, the different alternatives to pre-trial detention that exist in national law (e.g. reporting to the police authorities or travel prohibition) cannot presently be transposed or transferred across borders as States do not recognise foreign judicial decisions on these matters.
This Framework Decision, which will enable the EU Member States to mutually recognise non-custodial pre-trial supervision measures, is expected to help reduce the number of non-resident pre-trial detainees in the European Union. At the same time it will reinforce the right to liberty and the presumption of innocence in the European Union and will reduce the risk of unequal treatment of non-resident suspected persons.
For more information on the activities of Vice-President Barrot, please see: