Data obtained by police during the first questioning of the suspect is often of vital importance for the case. Thus, it is important to ensure that during the questioning the main procedural rights of suspects – right to interpretation, right to information, right to effective defence – are respected. These procedural rights are enshrined both in European Union directives and in Lithuanian law, regulating criminal procedure.
In order to find out how procedural rights operate in day-to-day practice of police investigators, researchers from the Human Rights Monitoring Institute conducted observation-based research. Researchers observed questionings of arrested suspects and conducted qualitative interviews with police investigators and defence lawyers.
This research, based on data from real-life questionings, enabled us to identify the main areas of concern, revealing gaps between legal regulation and daily practice of police investigators. At the same time, examples of good practices, applied by some investigators and demonstrating professional attitude towards procedural standards, were observed as well.
This research conducted in Lithuania is part of a wider-scale regional project, carried out in eight other EU countries – Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, Romania, and Spain.
We are sincerely grateful to Lithuanian Police for cooperation and exceptional opportunity to conduct this research.