Electronic Surveillance System

01/03/2020 Justice, safety and the law | Counsel / Sultan Ibrahim Aljuwaied - Senior Advocate General

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The United Arab Emirates has developed and is still in process of developing its judicial system via the technological growth which is known today as“modernization of justice” aiming at rationalizing its punishments policies and limiting the scope of punishments restricting the freedom especially short-term detention, and started searching for alternatives. Hence, the legislator, through Federal Decree-Law No. (17) Of 2018, amended some of the provisions of the Penal Procedures Law- the Electronic Surveillance system- as a mean of implementing the punishment or an alternative of the precautionary detention during the investigation and trial stages.

- The electronic surveillance is: a procedure through which the accused or convicted is not allowed to be absent from his domicile during the times specified to him, or from any other place determined in the order issued by the public prosecution or the  competent court , as the case may be.

- It is based on the notion of  the remote surveillance of  the intended person to make sure whether he/ she exists or absent from his/ her domicile or during the times determined under the decision of competent authority through an electronic device fixed in his wrist or ankle (the bracelet).

The electronic surveillance shall be cancelled once conditions are breached. Moreover, the person under surveillance shall be punished in case of escaping, damaging or destroying the surveillance device deliberately.

- There are five ways of the electronic surveillance:

1 / Temporary surveillance instead of the precautionary detention or temporary confinement.

2 / Temporary surveillance as an alternative of incarceration punishment.

3 / Release after serving half of the punishment period, in the meantime, being under the electronic surveillance.

4/ Implementing the police surveillance through the electronic means.

5/Implement the police release through the electronic surveillance.

The law covered the situation under the electronic surveillance with several guarantees:

1/ Determining the means used to implement the electronic surveillance by the resolution of the Cabinet.

2/ Respecting the dignity, safety and privacy of the tagged person i.e. the person under electronic monitoring. 

3 / The right of the tagged person, to consult a physician, at any time, to avoid health risks made by the electronic devices used.

4/The order to provisionally put the accused under the electronic surveillance shall take place after the accused consent.

- The federal Public Prosecution has paid great efforts and held several workshops and meetings with its competent partners to coordinate and achieve the intended integration to guarantee the safe and active implementation of the system in accordance with the law and the resolution of the Cabinet No. (53) Of 2019 concerning the implementation of the electronic surveillance. His Excellency UAE Attorney- General issued the circular No. (11) Of 2019 concerning the system implementation guidelines in practice

- The electronic surveillance system, upon the completion of the actual implementation, will definitely lead to reflect a positive image to the development of the judicial system in the state after the comparative experiment has proved the active role achieved by the electronic system in ceasing the disadvantages of the punishment restricting the freedom, reducing the expenses, putting an end to the overcrowding of penitentiary institutions.

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