Thodoris Chondrogiannos 22 • 12 • 2022

Concerns raised around the compatibility of new legislation with the protection of the presumption of innocence

Thodoris Chondrogiannos
Concerns raised around the compatibility of new legislation with the protection of the presumption of innocence
22 • 12 • 2022

The Association of Judges and Prosecutors, as well as other legal bodies, have expressed serious concerns as to the compatibility of the presumption of innocence with new regulation which enables the possibility of registering prosecutions on citizens’ criminal records before the issuance of a court decision.

On 17 November 2022, law 4995/2022 (Government Gazette 216 Α’/18.11.2022) was passed, incorporating EU regulations on the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) into the national legal order.

Article 14 of Law no. 4995/2022 also reformed Art. 3 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP), extending the data recorded in the criminal records of citizens. Indeed, according to the new provision, criminal records shall also record any criminal prosecution brought, even in its procedural stage, for the crimes provided for in Articles 299, 306, 312, 323A, 324, Chapter 19 of the Special Part of the Criminal Code [Law 4619/2019 (A’ 95)], Articles 20, 22 and 23 of Law No. 4139/2013 (A’ 74) and in Law No. 3500/2006 (A’ 232) for dealing with domestic violence when these crimes are committed against a minor, until the final adjudication of the case.

Similar concerns were expressed by the Scientific Service of the Parliament, which in its report on the bill noted that the relationship between the purpose of the regulation, which is the protection of childhood as an obligation of the state, and the means to achieve it, which is the restriction of the right to the protection of personal data, is governed by the principle of proportionality. They therefore also suggest that a different strategy may be more suitable, in accordance with the principle of proportionality, such as the issue of a special, different, type of copy of the criminal record which would include information on criminal proceedings and pending proceedings, and would be issued only under specific conditions (such as in the case of hiring people to work with minors), with a corresponding amendment of the articles of the CCP.

Where is the problem with the rule of law?

A state governed by the rule of law must protect the principle of the presumption of innocence.

However, new legislation raises serious compatibility concerns with the presumption of innocence, as protected by Article 6 para. 2 of the ECHR.

Thodoris Chondrogiannos
Submit a report if you have detected a violation of the rule of law!
Support govwatch