Arrest

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Background

An individual has the right not to be arbitrarily arrested or detained. In many countries, an officer must have probable cause to arrest an individuale. Probable cause to arrest exists when, at the time of the arrest, the officer is relying on reasonably trustworthy facts and circumstances sufficient to lead a reasonably prudent person to believe that the acused has committed or is committing a crime.

International Sources

  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 9 -
  1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.
  2. Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him.
  3. Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release. It shall not be the general rule that persons awaiting trial shall be detained in custody, but release may be subject to guarantees to appear for trial, at any other stage of the judicial proceedings, and, should occasion arise, for execution of the judgement.
  4. Anyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings before a court, in order that that court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of his detention and order his release if the detention is not lawful.
  5. Anyone who has been the victim of unlawful arrest or detention shall have an enforceable right to compensation.

Examples of standards for arrest

India

The police may arrest a person without a warrant except in non-cognizable offences if it is based on a probable cause. This exists if at the time of the arrest the officer is relying on reasonable facts sufficient to lead him to believe that the person committed or is committing a crime. (Indian Criminal Procedure Code Section 41)

Rwanda

When an offence is punishable by at least an imprisonment of two (2) years or if there exist reasonable grounds to suspect that the accused is likely to escape or if his or her identity is unknown or is doubtful, a Judicial Police Officer can, if it is deemed necessary for the purposes of investigation, arrest and detain him or her in an official remand in a custody which is situated at a police station if there are serious reasons to suspect that he or she committed the offence (Rwanda Criminal Procedure Code Article 37)