What do we do?
The Presumption of innocence Watch promotes activities focused on the study, diagnosis, and analysis of cases in which trials by media have occurred, currently or in the past, and reflects on the consequences of such cases in the judiciary and the courts, suggesting mechanisms to improve the system.
The final goal is to create a forum of reference for the legal world that contributes with new perspectives and suggestions to develop and improve judicial systems, modernising them and preparing them to confront the challenges of our media-focused society.
The Presumption of innocence Watch studies and analyses Court decisions and legislative reforms from neighbouring countries, including within the European Union, compiling best practices in the enforcement of the presumption of innocence. It monitors statistics from trials by media in the judicial field as well as in the media. It designs and implements special training programs about the defence of the presumption of innocence as well as all the other guarantees necessary for the protection of a fair trial. We also put into place protocols aimed at protecting victims of trials by media, before the beginning of the criminal process, as well as providing tools for the compensation for moral damages, in those cases where the victim has been subsequently acquitted.
SPEAKERS AT THE CONFERENCE “CRIME AND MEDIA”
The Faculty of Communication and the Faculty of Law and Economy of the Universidad Camilo José Cela (UCJC) organized this conference, in which well-known speakers discussed how media addresses justice.
Joaquín García-Romanillos, lawyer and previous president of the Fernando Pombo Foundation, established the foundation’s “Presumption of Innocence Watch and Trials by Media” and was the invited speaker of our Foundation.
The conference took place on April 20, 2016 in Madrid.
CORRUPTION AND THE LAW. CONFERENCE IN THE UIMP
The Second conference “Corruption and the law” was held in Santander the 14th and 15th of July within the framework of the Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo(UIMP)s summer courses. The event was sponsored and organized by the Fernando Pombo Foundation and organized in collaboration with this university.
This activity is framed within the primary goals of the Fernando Pombo Foundation so as to contribute to the strengthening of the Rule of Law and Human Rights. The course posed a deep analysis of the legal and social tools to fight against fraudulent practices. Top professionals in all fields were invited as speakers: lawyers, judges, prosecutors, scholars, business, NGOs, etc. in order to seek different views from both the public and the private sectors, thus encouraging a plural exchange of knowledge.
Reports on the Conference:
III SESSION OF THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE WATCH “MEDIA TRAILS IN COMPARATIVE LAW”
The Puerta de Toledo campus of the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid hosted the III Work Session of the Presumption of Innocence Watch, in which many prestigious national and international lawyers participated to analyze the so-called trials by media from the point of view of Comparative Law.
Luis Aguiar de Luque, Constitutional Law Professor, opened the event, which was later divided in two round tables and a final debate moderated by Joaquín García-Romanillos, President of the Fernando Pombo Foundation.
The first round table, moderated by Professor Aguiar, counted with the participations of different experts from Spain, France and Italy. The first speaker, a Constitutional Law Professor at the Universidad Pompeu Fabra, Marc Carrillo, defined media trials as “a pathology of the freedom of information” that impact the presumption of innocence and hamper the development of a fair trial. The Professor described them as an “excrescence” of the freedom of information exercise, as they do not respect the guarantees of informative diligence. Olivier Lecuqc, Public Law Professor at l’Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour in France, highlighted the main legal responses that have taken place in his country against trials by media and analyzed their efficiency rate. In France, the freedom of information rights is highly protected. However, the Law has imposed some limits to its exercise by preventing sanctions to media and to journalists that infringe the presumption of innocence fundamental rights. These measures are not really effective in France, denounced Lecuqc, as “the presumption of innocence does not protect the innocent, but the presumed innocent” and trials do not always allow us to know the truth. As for Massimo Lucciani of the Public Law Institute of the Università degli Studi di Roma – ‘La Sapienza’, he carried out a correct analysis of trials by media as a consequence of three different types of populisms: media, political and judicial; which define the social relations established in the first half of the XXI Century.
Joaquín García-Romanillos moderated the second round table, which counted with the interventions of Luis Enrique Cuervo, Professor at the University of Tulane (New Orleans, U.S), and Rafael Bustos, Constitutional Law Professor at the Universidad de Salamanca. Cuervo carried out a very detailed and educational exposition of how the US criminal procedure works and how its core principles are affected by trials by media.
He also addressed the well-known “Scopes Monkey Trial” – which had a wide national advertising – and the tools a judge has to promote a fair trial. Professor Bustos also carried out a deep analysis of the European Court of Human Rights’ jurisprudence in relation with media trials, trying to find the constant “argumentation ways” that allows us to identify the most protected elements regarding freedom of information and the Court’s criteria to limit freedom of information.
ROUND TABLE: ¿WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TRAILS BY MEDIA? PROFESSIONAL DEONTOLGY
Within the framework of activities organized periodically by the Presumption of Innocence Watch, the Fernando Pombo Foundation, the Comparative Public Law Institute of Carlos III University and the Wolters Kluwer Foundation have organized a round table entitled “Who is responsible for trials by media? Professional deontology”.
– Ms. Elsa González. President of the Federation of Journalist Associations of Spain (FAPE).
– Mr. Ángel Juanes. Chief Justice of the Audiencial Nacional.
– Mr. José Manuel Pérez. Deputy General Director. Ministry of the Interior.
– Ms. Rosa Bedregal. Lawyer.
– Mr. Manuel Núñez Encabo. President of the FAPE Commission on Arbitration, Complaints and Journalistic Deontology.
FIRST TRAINING SESSION OF THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE WATCH. THE “ROCÍO WANNINKHOF” CASE
(Extract Canal Cuatro News)
The first training session of the Presumption of innocence Watch will be dedicated to the “The Rocio Wanninkhof Case” and will be divided in two activities: one working and training session for the postgraduate students; and one Master session open to the public.
In order to fulfill the implementation of the agreement between the Foundation Fernando Pombo and the University Carlos III of Madrid, the first part of the activity will be executed as a part of the curricular activities within the Postgraduate course Access to Practice of Law managed by the UC3M.
The activity will consist of a detailed study of the Rocio Wanninkohof case from an academic point of view, divided in two parts:
- Legal-technical and strictly procedural perspective, analyzing each of the elements of the investigation and of the judicial proceeding;
- And the influence of information to: the Public Administration, the parties involved in the process, the media, the public opinion, and finally, the impact on the impartiality of the Judge.
Various journalistic resources, as well as judicial decisions and judgments will be taken in consideration in order to carry out successfully the analysis and the debate.
The Master lecture, open to the public, will be held at the centre for Political and Constitutional Studies.
CONFERENCE: THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE AND TRIAL BY THE MEDIA
The Conference “The presumption of innocence and trials by media” took place in Santander between June 26 and Junde 29, organised by the Fernando Pombo Foundation in collaboration with the Universidad Menéndez Pelayo (UIMP).
The goal was the study, promotion, and defense of the presumption of innocence in the face of trials by the media. The Conference depended on the contribution of distinguished specialists and professionals on the subject of lawyers, journalists, judges, district attorneys, sociologists, etc.
The Fernando Pombo Foundation, promoted and organised this conference to draw attention to the conflict between the presumption of innocence and the right to freedom of expression of the press in relation to trials by media. The conference was attended by numerous leading legal figures including the Spanish Minister of Justice, Alberto Ruiz Gallardon who opened the Conference and the Spanish Director of Public Prosecutors Eduardo Torres Dulce who gave the closing speech.
Introductory address: Alberto Ruiz Gallardón, Minister of Justice. Emilio Lamo de Espinosa, Professor of Sociology. Universidad Complutense. Member of the board of trustees of Fernando Pombo Foundation. Joaquín García-Romanillos, President of the Fernando Pombo Foundation.
Summary of each session: