Development of the Right to Silence in International Human Rights Law

  • Fenella M. W. Billing


International frameworks for human rights protection provide an important background to the transnational process of evidence gathering in cross-border cases. Their main functions are setting and monitoring minimum standards of individual protection and providing an avenue of complaint against the state when these standards are not being met. Through these functions, international attention is drawn to the legal development of human rights. There is an argument at least in Denmark that the principles developed under a framework such as the one provided for in the ECHR, due to the nature of the ECtHR’s dynamic interpretation, may be applicable in national law through incorporation. In addition, the protective frameworks may create certain assumptions between cooperating states about, for example, the types of procedures that operate to the benefit of suspects, victims or other individuals caught up in the process. Further, depending on the influence of theses frameworks, they may encourage uniformity of minimum procedural standards to such an extent that the overall aim of gathering admissible evidence in transnational cases is optimised. This chapter lays out the legal background of the right to silence in relation to two significant international human rights frameworks, the ICCPR and the ECHR.


  1. American Civil Liberties Union (2012) Frequently asked questions about the universal declaration of human rights. Accessed 13 Apr 2012
  2. Barnard C, Peers S (eds) (2014) European Union Law. OUP, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  3. British and Irish Legal Information Institute (2015) BAILII. Accessed 15 Oct 2015
  4. Cape E, Namoradze Z, Smith R, Spronken T (2010) Effective criminal defence in Europe. Intersentia, AntwerpenGoogle Scholar
  5. Chalmers D, Davies G, Monti G (2014) European Union Law: text and materials, 3rd edn. CUP, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Crawford J (2012) Brownlie’s principles of public law, 8th edn. OUP, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. D’Amico M (2010) Justice: Article 47 – Right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial. In: Mock W (ed) Human rights in Europe: commentary on the charter of fundamental rights of the European Union. Carolina Academic Press, DurhamGoogle Scholar
  8. Daniel B, Elholm T, Starup P, Steinicke M (2011) Grundlæggende EU-Ret: EU Efter Lisbontraktaten. DJØF Forlag, CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
  9. De Schutter O (2010) International human rights law. CUP, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Elo Rytter J (2013) Individets grundlæggende rettigheder. Karnov Group, CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
  11. Emmerson B, Ashworth A, Macdonald A (eds) (2012) Human rights and criminal justice, 3rd edn. Sweet & Maxwell, LondonGoogle Scholar
  12. European Commission (2011) Green Paper strengthening mutual trust in the European judicial area – a Green Paper on the application of EU criminal justice legislation in the field of detention. Available via EURLEX. Accessed 15 Jan 2014
  13. European Court of Human Rights, Public Relations Unit (2012) ECHR: Overview 1959–2011. Accessed 15 Oct 2015
  14. Harris DJ, O’Boyle M, Bates EP, Buckley CM (eds) (2014) Harris, O’Boyle and Warbrick: law of the European convention on human rights, 2nd edn. OUP, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  15. Jackson JD, Summers SJ (2012) The internationalisation of criminal evidence: beyond the common law and civil law traditions. CUP, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kälin W, Künzli J (2009) The law of international human rights protection. OUP, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  17. Legal Experts Advisory Panel (2014) Stockholm’s sunset: new horizons for justice in Europe. Available via Fair Trials International. Accessed 15 Apr 2014
  18. Moeckli D, Shah S, Sivakumaran S (2010) International human rights law. OUP, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  19. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (2014) Human Rights Committee – Jurisprudence. Accessed 15 Jan 2014
  20. Spronken T (2010) EU-Wide Letter of Rights in Criminal Proceedings: Towards Best Practice. Accessed 15 Jan 2014
  21. Steiner HJ, Alston P, Goodman R (2007) International human rights in context: law, politics and morals, 3rd edn. OUP, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  22. Trechsel S, Summers S (2006) Human rights in criminal proceedings. OUP, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. United Nations (2015) Treaty collection, databases: status of treaties – chapter IV: human rights. Accessed 15 Oct 2015
  24. United Nations Economic and Social Council (2004) Civil and political rights, including the question of torture and detention – report of the special Rapporteur on the question of torture, Theo Van Boven: Addendum – visit to Spain. UNDoc.E/CN.4/2004/56/Add.2. Accessed 15 Jun 2012
  25. Van Dijk P, Van Hoof F, Van Rijn A, Zwaak L (eds) (2006) Theory and practice of the European convention on human rights, 4th edn. Intersentia, AntwerpenGoogle Scholar
  26. Van Hoecke M, Warrington M (1998) Legal cultures, legal paradigms and legal culture: towards a new model for comparative law. Int Comp Law Q 47:495–536CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Wu W (2011) European perspective and standards on interrogational fairness. In: Cools M, De Ruyver B, Easton M, Pauwels L, Ponsaers P, Vander Beken T, Vender Lænen F, Vande Valle F, Verhage A, Vermeulen G, Vynckier G (eds) EU criminal justice, financial & economic crime: new perspectives. Governance of Security Research Paper Series, vol 5. Maklu, AntwerpGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Open Access This chapter is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 International License (, which permits any noncommercial use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license and indicate if changes were made.

The images or other third party material in this chapter are included in the chapter's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the chapter's Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fenella M. W. Billing
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of LawAarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark

Personalised recommendations