The Limits of the Use of Undercover Agents and the Right to a Fair Trial Under Article 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
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Various special investigative methods are more often applied nowadays; their use is unavoidably induced by today’s reality in combating organised crime in the spheres such as corruption, prostitution, drug trafficking, trafficking in persons, money counterfeit and etc. Therefore, special secret investigative methods are more often used and they are very effective in gathering evidence for the purpose of detecting and investigating very well-organised or latent crimes. Both the Convention on the Protection on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms itself, i.e. its Article 6, and other international instruments, such as the Council of Europe’s Criminal Law Convention, the Council of Europe’s Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and others, do not prohibit the use of special investigative methods, provided that their use does not violate human rights. The use of special investigative methods, such as undercover agents or other undercover investigative methods, cannot in itself infringe human rights and the right to a fair trial; however, its use must have clear limits and safeguards. The recent judgements of the European Court of Human Rights regarding the use of undercover agents confirm that the use of undercover agents in certain types of cases is often unavoidable and also very problematic, because the Court imposes on the member states of the Convention increasingly wider obligations. Partly this is determined by the fact that the current jurisprudence of the Court is still in the state of formation, therefore many questions are left unanswered.
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