Promoting the Reform of Pretrial Detention in CEE-FSU Countries –Introducing Good Practices


Source: Hungarian Helsinki Committee

The research was carried out through a standardized questionnaire put together by a number of HHC experts. In developing the questionnaire, the HHC drew from previous research projects, such as “Promoting independent prison complaints mechanisms in CEE-FSU – Introducing good practices”, a study conducted by the HHC for which a questionnaire was also developed.

The SC, OSF staff and a number of participating NGOs also contributed greatly to development of the questionnaire. They were consulted during the drafting process, and their input is reflected in the questionnaire.

The questionnaire takes a holistic approach to analyzing PTD and alternatives to PTD. It looks at both the legislation and practice; it looks at statistics and opinions and incorporates desk research as well as field research. The questionnaire combines quantitative and qualitative types of data and gathers both snapshot and flow statistics. This allows for the clearest possible picture of the legislation and practice concerning PTD and alternatives to PTD in the countries examined.

Furthermore, it is designed to highlight good practices as well as those practices that do not live up to applicable international standards.

The questionnaire begins by presenting the scope of the research project and then defines the terminology used, in particular what is understood, for the purpose of this study, by PTD and alternatives to PTD. The principle objective of the questionnaire was to gather the following:

• General information about the country, its legal system and most importantly, the costs of implementing PTD;

• Statistical information for the years 2000, 2009, 2010 and 2011 concerning PTD and its alternatives; and

• Specific safeguards provided in each country at different stages of PTD, namely when ordering placement in PTD, when executing PTD and during the judicial review process, if any.

Furthermore, the questionnaire gives special consideration to particularly vulnerable groups. A number of other issues, such as state-funded legal aid, psychiatric detention and detention ordered for national security offences are also briefly considered.

Based on NGO responses to the questionnaires, the HHC compiled the present study, which outlines the legislation and practices of countries in the CEE-FSU region with respect to pre-trial detention and its alternatives.

This study examines the following aspects of pre-trial detention:

• Living conditions while in detention

• Rights while in PTD (access to a lawyer, translator)

• Vulnerable groups

• Procedural requirements when ordering PTD

• Duration of PTD

• Review of pre-trial detention

• Appealing PTD

• Deduction/compensation for time spent in PTD

• State-funded legal aid

• Advocacy tools that have proved efficient in working on PTD reform

For each of these aspects the study identifies the applicable international standards, as specified in both Council of Europe and United Nations body of principles, rules and jurisprudence. The study then examines the data collected in light of these international standards: first, the particular legal authorities that regulate a given issue in CEE-FSU countries and second, the way these laws play out in practice. Where appropriate, the study also highlights relevant examples of specific practices, both positive and negative, from a range of countries.

  • Geographical area: Europe
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