Opinion Calling for the Cessation of Using Handcuffs and Waist Ropes on Suspects or Defendants While Entering and Leaving the Courtroom in Criminal Trials
October 15, 2019
Japan Federation of Bar Associations
The Japan Federation of Bar Associations prepared its “Opinion Calling for the Cessation of Using Handcuffs and Waist Ropes on Suspects or Defendants While Entering and Leaving the Courtroom in Criminal Trials” and submitted it to the Minister of Justice, the Commissioner General of the National Police Agency, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on October 21, 2019.
Summary of the Opinion
- In principle, the judge who presides over a criminal trial should order restraint devices removed before the suspect or defendant enters the courtroom, and have the restraint devices applied after he or she leaves the courtroom, to ensure that no one (especially, the courtroom observers and the litigants including the judge) will see the suspect or defendant wearing handcuffs and a waist rope, unless there are exceptional circumstances justifying an impending threat, on a distinct and specific basis, that the suspect or defendant may break free, injure himself or herself, harm others, or cause property damage.
- The Ministry of Justice and the National Police Agency should disseminate the procedure described in the foregoing item to the wardens and staff of the criminal detention centers (including police officers in charge of detention).
- The Supreme Court, the Ministry of Justice, and the National Police Agency should undertake the following actions in order to bring the procedure set forth in items 1 and 2 into practice: