FOREWORDwhat this Report is about |
It is estimated that at any one time some 4,500 EU
nationals are held in custody in EU countries other than their
normal country of residence.
Persons resident in the Member State where they are
suspected of having committed a crime may be granted bail while
suspects resident in another Member State may be remanded in custody
because they are perceived to be more likely to abscond.
In the absence of an international instrument specifically
enabling the transfer of bail from one Member State to another,
these "foreigners" may be detained for many months pending
the outcome of the criminal investigation or trial.
The Commission's proposal for a European supervision
order (ESO) seeks to address this problem. It provides a mechanism
under which a judicial authority in Member State A could impose
a non-custodial supervision measure on the foreign suspect which
would be recognised and enforced in Member State B where he is
normally resident. The authorities in Member State B would supervise
compliance with the order and would also be responsible for returning
him for trial if he did not return on his own when summoned to
do so by the trial State.
The ESO is a meritorious and welcome proposal. It
addresses a serious issue affecting the liberty of the individual
and has the potential to reduce hardship for some thousands of
However, a detailed examination of the draft Framework
Decision shows that there are a number of places where the scheme
as proposed by the Commission should be improved.
In this Report we examine the proposal in detail
and consider how the ESO would work in practice. We propose a
number of changes aimed at making the ESO sufficiently clear and
secure as to command the confidence of prosecutors and judges
in the trial State and to be workable in both States involved.
The proposal deserves prompt attention by Member
States and it is regrettable that the Council of Ministers has
yet to accord it any priority.