In 2015 werd een wetenschappelijk onderzoeksproject afgesloten met als titel Protecting young suspects in interrogations – a study on safeguards and best practice. Het onderzoek heeft betrekking op het verhoor van minderjarige verdachten en welke waarborgen er in dat verband bestaan in diverse landen, zowel in het recht als in de praktijk. Wat België betreft, werd aan het onderzoek deelgenomen door Joachim Meese voor de Universiteit Antwerpen.
De studie verscheen ondertussen in boekvorm in twee delen.
Het eerste deel (Procedural Safeguards from a Legal Perspective) bevat onder meer een landenrapport geschreven door mr. Joachim Meese en Marc van Oosterhout over het Vlaams jeugdbeschermingsmodel en het verhoor van minderjarige verdachten in dat verband (‘Balancing the Need for Protection and Punishment of Young Delinquents. Country Report Belgium’).
Het tweede deel (Procedural Safeguards from an Empirical Perspective) bevat onder meer de richtlijnen die door het volledige onderzoeksteam werden ontwikkeld.
Uit de publiciteit van de uitgever:
“The vulnerability of juvenile suspects concerns all phases of proceedings but is probably greatest during interrogations in the investigation stage. These early interrogations often constitute the juvenile suspects’ first contact with law enforcement authorities during which they are confronted with many difficult questions and decisions. Therefore, the juvenile suspect should already at this stage be provided with an adequate level of procedural protection.
The research project ‘Protecting Young Suspects in Interrogations’ underlying these books, sprung from the observation that the knowledge of the existing level of procedural protection of juvenile suspects throughout the European Union is limited. More specifically, there is very little knowledge of what actually happens when juvenile suspects are being interrogated. The research project aims to fill at least part of this gap by shedding more light on the existing procedural rights for juveniles during interrogations in five EU Member States representing different systems of juvenile justice (Belgium, England and Wales, Italy, Poland and the Netherlands). In doing so, it intends to identify legal and empirical patterns to improve the effective protection of the juvenile suspect. The project is a joint effort of Maastricht University, Warwick University, Antwerp University, Jagiellonian University and Macerata University in cooperation with Defence for Children and PLOT Limburg.
The first volume contains the results of the first part of the research project: a legal comparative study into existing legal procedural safeguards for juvenile suspects during interrogation in the five selected Member States. The country reports incorporated in this volume provide for an in-depth analysis of the existing rules and safeguards applicable during the interrogation of juvenile suspects. On the basis of these findings a transversal analysis is carried out in the final chapter, which is dedicated to the identification of common patterns with a view to harmonising the systems and improving the protection of juvenile suspects’ rights. Part 2 and 3 of the research project (empirical research consisting of observations of recorded interrogations and focus group interviews) and a final merging of the legal and empirical findings resulting in a proposal for European minimum rules and best practice on the protection of juvenile suspects during interrogation will be published in a separate, second volume (‘Interrogating Young Suspects: Procedural Safeguards from an Empirical Perspective’).
This second volume reflects the results of the second and third part of the research project. First, it contains the results of the empirical research conducted in the five Member States consisting of focus group interviews and observations of recorded interrogations. The empirical findings of each Member State are discussed in separate chapters to provide an in-depth account of perceptions and practices in the context of each jurisdiction. Second, the country reports are followed by an integrated analysis resulting from the merging of the legal and empirical findings offering a comparative overview and combining the national findings into an integrated perspective. Finally, the book contains a set of guidelines – a framework of minimum rules – developed on the basis of the research project’s findings. The guidelines and their additional explanatory remarks include recommendations for good practices and are intended to serve as an inspiration for promoting good practice in the context of juvenile suspect interrogations throughout the EU.”