The interrogation of witnesses abroad in execution of European investigation order : an examination from eyes of defence
The objective of this study is to examine the position of the defence in a criminal case under the Initiative for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council regarding the European Investigation Order in criminal matters of 29 April 2010. This proposal is under ongoing discussion at the European Union level and aims to increase efficiency in cross-border cooperation on obtaining evidence in criminal matters. Mutual recognition is the key word on which this cooperation is based. Any new evidence-gathering instrument must safeguard human rights, including the rights of the defence. This work concentrates particularly on the investigation measure of hearing a witness. In this regard, the relevant specific defence rights and their interpretation by the European Court of Human Rights and the European Court of Justice are revealed. Subsequently, the potential execution of the new instrument of a European Investigation Order is scrutinised in light of these observations. The results suggest concerns regarding the form and content of the current provisions of the Initiative from a defence perspective. Moreover, general counterbalancing measures are absent, rendering the new Proposal non-proportional to the aim it is willing to achieve. The principal conclusion is that alternative scenarios should be established in order to balance all the interests involved.