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EU Sets Out Defendant Right to Translation

(CN) - As the first step in an effort to define the rights of criminal defendants, the European Commission on Friday adopted a resolution to give criminal suspects the right to free translation of court proceedings and key documents.

"The Commission has long considered that the EU needs to have common minimum standards of procedural safeguards in criminal proceedings," said a statement released by the Commission.

The framework will guarantee free interpretation to criminal suspects, and the right to have essential procedural documents translated.

More actions to streamline the community's judicial systems are expected.

Sweden drafted a roadmap this year that instructs the Commission on how to apply such rights. The first step was that seen Friday, with the right to interpretation and translation. Up next is a letter explaining individual rights, the right to legal advice before and during a trial, the right of a detained person to communicate with family members and employers, and the protection of suspects at risk.

"It is important for the EU to get the balance right between measures that facilitate investigation and prosecution of crime and those that protect the rights of the accused," the statement said. "This Framework Decision is the first step in achieving that balance."

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