Updates to Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure Facilitate Compliance with Consular Notification and Access Obligations

Press Statement
Marie Harf
Deputy Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
December 2, 2014

Effective December 1, 2014, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure have been updated to help facilitate compliance with the United States’ consular notification and access obligations. Pursuant to these changes, a defendant who is not a United States citizen and who has been charged with a federal crime shall be informed by a federal magistrate judge at the initial appearance that he or she “may request that an attorney for the government or a federal law enforcement official notify a consular officer from the defendant’s country of nationality that the defendant has been arrested.”

The United States takes very seriously its consular notification and access obligations under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and other consular agreements and has made significant efforts to meet its goal of across-the-board compliance, including through outreach, guidance, and training to law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges at the federal, state, and local levels on consular notification and access. These updates to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure provide further support to these vital efforts.