Pre-trial detention in Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union (2013)

December 12, 2013

In 2013 the Hungarian Helsinki Committee published a study which explores the legislation and practice around pre-trial detention (PTD) in Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union (CEE-FSU). Human Rights Monitoring Institute was one of the organizations participating in the study’s preparation.

According to both national and international legislation PTD should be used as a means of last resort. However, this research indicates that this is hardly the case. If someone finds themselves in a PTD court hearing in the CEE-FSU region, there is an 80% probability that he will be placed in PTD. In countries like Georgia, Hungary and Kazakhstan, the chances are over 90%.

These people are left to spend, at times, years of their lives in PTD. This is so, despite the fact that international standards clearly ask for PTD to be as short as possible. Nonetheless in 2011, in Hungary there were almost 300 people held in PTD for over one year; in Poland there were over 2000 people in such a situation. Also, for those unfortunately enough to be held in PTD in Turkey, according to the law, in exceptional cases they can be held in PTD for 10 years.

The study is available in English and Russian. A summary of the study in English is also available. To learn more about the Hungarian Helsinki Committee’s campaign promoting reform of pre-trial detention visit the organization’s website.