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Presumption of innocence and related rights: professional perspectives

Article 48 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights guarantees the presumption of innocence in criminal proceedings, as well as respect for related defence rights. Directive (EU) 2016/343 – on strengthening certain aspects of the presumption and of the right to be present at trial – spells these out in more detail.

This report of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency looks at the practical implementation of the presumption of innocence in criminal proceedings, and related rights, in nine EU Member States, including Bulgaria. The report is based on interviews with over 120 defence lawyers, judges, prosecutors, police officers and journalists in these nine countries, covering broad ground in terms of both geography and legal traditions. They show that practical implementation varies – and underline that the presumption of innocence can be undermined in myriad ways.

CSD contributed to the report by carrying out the research in Bulgaria (legal analysis and series of interviews with judges, prosecutors, police officers and lawyers) and producing a country report as background material for the comparative analysis.

The full report and all national background studies are available on the FRA website here.

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