Procedural Safeguards for Juvenile Suspects in Interrogations: A Look at the Commission Proposal in Light of an EU Comparative Study

D.L.F. de Vocht, M. Panzavolta, M. van Oosterhout, M. Vanderhallen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This article discusses the recent european commission's proposal for a directive on procedural safeguards for children suspected and accused in criminal proceedings and the protection that it offers to juvenile suspects during interrogations. Given the importance of the interrogations for the outcome of a case and its sensitivity for the personality of vulnerable suspects, understanding how the proposal protects children in this stage of proceedings seems a required step in the overall assessment of the quality of the proposed legislation. The proposal's evaluation is conducted in light of the preliminary findings of an on-going eu funded research project that the authors are currently coordinating. After a critical assessment of the scope and relevant definitions of the proposal, the attention will turn to some specific safeguards related to (pre-trial) interrogations such as the right to legal assistance, the right to an appropriate adult and the right to an individual assessment. By referring to the current legal status quo in a selection of eu member states, the article challenges some aspects of the proposal such as its relatively narrow scope, the lack of definitions of certain concepts and the fact that the complexity of the vulnerability of juvenile suspects is not adequately taken into account by some of the proposed rules. With this critical evaluation and by emphasizing the importance of taking full account of the complexity of the matter, the authors hope to offer a contribution to the future debate and negotiations on how to effectively strengthen the protection of juvenile suspects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)480-506
JournalNew Journal of European Criminal Law
Volume4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

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