Variable vulnerabilities? Comparing the rights of adult vulnerable suspects and vulnerable victims under EU law

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EU instruments regulating the rights of adult vulnerable victims and vulnerable suspects differ in their conceptualisation of ‘vulnerability’. The Victim Directive mainly focuses on persons who are vulnerable to secondary victimisation due to external factors, while vulnerability in the Recommendation on procedural safeguards for vulnerable persons suspected or accused in criminal proceedings hinges on endogenic factors, such as the suspect's mental or physical condition. The aim of the latter instrument is to remedy the suspect's inability to understand and to effectively participate in criminal proceedings. These different conceptualisations have resulted in different guarantees for vulnerable victims and vulnerable suspects. The Recommendation contains provisions that – once adopted in a victims' rights instrument – could considerably strengthen the current protection of vulnerable victims and vice versa. In order to provide for a more comprehensive protection the EU should embrace both perspectives in its dealings with vulnerable persons, regardless of whether they are victims or suspects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-58
JournalNew Journal of European Criminal Law
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

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