The European Union’s Approach towards Child Victim Testimonies in Criminal Proceedings Compared to the Right to Fair Trial: summum ius, summa injuria?

  •  Tomas Konigs    
  •  Sohail Wahedi    
  •  Tjalling Waterbolk    


The concept of a European Union as a common ‘area of freedom, security and justice’ has offered a fundamental legitimate basis for the ‘Europeanisation’ of domestic criminal procedures since its anchoring in the Treaty of Amsterdam. Based on this concept, the European legislator is increasingly using different legal instruments to harmonise the law on certain areas in its Member States. As such, the recently adopted Directive provides minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime in the European Union. The call for harmonisation as such does not have to be perceived as problematic. This notion is particularly true when harmonising means that victims of crimes can invoke rights to which they are entitled. However, apart from the criticism of Eurosceptics, the ‘Europeanisation’ of the law is found problematic if it conflicts with the most fundamental principles of European law. In this light, it is very doubtful whether the way in which the Directive provides protection to child victims participating in criminal proceedings is compatible with the right of the accused to a fair trial, which the international community has adopted as a fundamental human right.

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