In this first event of March, DILS welcomes Anni Pues from Glasgow University. Anni will present her paper entitled “Concept of a ‘fair trial’ at the International Criminal Court in Lecture Theatre 1 in Dalhousie Building, the University of Dundee on the 4th of March (4.3.2014) at 5.15pm.
The paper critically assesses the understanding of the fair trial notion in ICC jurisprudence. Issues surrounding victim participation and witness protection, and their touch points to the rights of the accused, are the litmus test for the understanding of the fair trial in the Rome Statue. It is argued that the fair trial notion in Article 68 of the Rome Statue embodies an inherent right of the accused. This paper proposes that the fair trial guarantee in the Rome Statute would involve victims, prosecution and witnesses.
Abstract: At the ICC a procedural structure has been developed that attributes the key role as the ‘ultimate guardians’ of a fair trial to the Chambers of the Court – in opposition to a position on a par with the prosecution – whether related to witness protection or the disclosure regime. This strengthens the impartiality and fairness of the proceedings. An equally strong position of the Chambers is also reflected in the casuistic approach to victim participation at the ICC. This allows for great flexibility to adjust the scope of victim participation rights to fair trial needs. However, some propositions will be made to achieve greater coherence in the system as for example one of the key instruments of the Court related to victim participation – common legal representation of victims – appears to contradict the casuistic approach. Related to other matters like the victims’ right to lead evidence, it is for example suggested that the Court should exclude the possibility for participating victims to successively take a dual position and give testimony. Despite the observable growing pains of a judicial system still under construction, the paper argues that the Court achieves a fair trial for the accused through balancing and harmonizing this right with the rights to life, security, private and family life and to justice and truth.