Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2005-04-11-Speech-1-114"

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"Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, our group has welcomed the Commission’s proposal and believes that the amendments tabled by the rapporteur have been scrupulously drafted. They are in fact based on a fundamental principle concerning the procedural safeguards that are to be harmonised and offered to all those charged in criminal proceedings throughout the European Union: if criminal proceedings are organised at a European scale, then citizens’ rights should also be guaranteed at that level. It is an important principle because it increases mutual trust among the various legal systems, without which there can be no cooperation. As Commissioner Frattini has pointed out, they are minimum but absolutely essential procedural rights: the presence of a legal advisor at all stages of the proceedings, translation of all documents, assistance from an interpreter, and so forth. If these rights were not guaranteed, we would run the risk of seeing unfair or arbitrary trials. Then comes the rub: the issue of exceptions, or the possibility – called for by some of my fellow Members – for the Member States not to apply these guarantees to particularly serious forms of crime such as terrorism. Our group rejects such a solution. The compromise reached in Amendment 4 to recital 8 recognises it, that is, the need for a legal and ethical threshold that the Member States must never cross, not even to combat terrorism: it is a question of human rights, the International Convention on Human Rights and the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights. I therefore consider the argument put forward by a fellow Member regarding the high costs that this reform would generate to be rather ignoble. It is a concern too far, in part because it is very difficult to put a financial value on protecting human rights. We have to do more in the fight against terrorism, but without suppressing the rights of those under investigation and those who have been charged. We cannot accept a two-track system as unfortunately prevails in the United States with, for instance, the Guantánamo affair and the changes to the US judicial system, because Europe’s legal culture and the memory of all that Cesare Beccaria represented for that legal culture mean that one cannot, I believe, announce the end of . Mr President, terrorism is above all a patent violation of human rights; it would therefore be a paradox for us to want to combat it ourselves by violating the civil rights of those charged or under investigation in such proceedings."@en1

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