1. bookVolume 11 (2015): Issue 1 (December 2015)
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
1857-8462
First Published
01 Jul 2005
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
access type Open Access

Interpretation Of “Equality Of Arms” In Jurisprudence Of AD Hoc Tribunals And ICC

Published Online: 13 Jan 2016
Volume & Issue: Volume 11 (2015) - Issue 1 (December 2015)
Page range: 28 - 39
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
1857-8462
First Published
01 Jul 2005
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

Principle of equality of arms is part of fair trial concept, which encompasses several guarantees linked to the defence opportunities during the criminal procedure. The accused person is entitled to a fair trial. Balance of rights between the parties is bedrock for procedural fairness and the judge has to perform his competence in providing all necessary preconditions as for the trial to be fair.

There are differences between interpretation and implementation of equality of arms in the jurisprudence of European court on human rights (ECtHR) and international criminal courts (ICTY, ICTR and ICC). Decisions of ECtHR are much more similar with domestic understanding of equality of arms as reasonable opportunity of the defence to present the case without disadvantages vis-à-vis the prosecutor, due to inherent inequity between the parties.

When analyzing proceeding before the ad hoc Tribunals, there is “more liberal interpretation” of this principle, which allowed the Prosecutor to invoke equality of arms, as well. ICTY Trial Chamber in Aleksovski case concluded that application of the concept of a fair trial in favor of both parties is understandable because the Prosecution acts on behalf of and in the interests of the international community, including the interests of the victims of the offence charged and also has held that it is difficult to see how a trial could ever be considered to be fair where the accused is favored at the expense of the Prosecution. This interpretation has been justified with dependence of the international Tribunals on state cooperation and due to the fact that international criminal courts have no autonomous enforcement agencies at their disposal. Fortunately, ICC Statute considered equality of arms as solely afforded to the defence, or to the Prosecutor on the behalf of accused.

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