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Part Three The Specific Rights of the Defence, Ch.12 The Right to the Free Assistance of an Interpreter

From: Human Rights in Criminal Proceedings

Stefan Trechsel

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 24 June 2024

Right to fair trial — Presumption of innocence — International criminal law, evidence — Equality of arms — Fact-finding and inquiry

The right to the free assistance of an interpreter during criminal proceedings may be seen as part of the right to be heard which, in turn, is an essential element of the right to a fair trial. It is very important to recognise that the right to an interpreter is not only a right of the defence but also an essential prerequisite for the proper functioning of the administration of justice. This chapter discusses the origins, purpose, and character of the guarantee, the relative and the absolute character of the guarantee, the relationship of Article 6 section 3(e) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) to other rights of the defence, the need for interpretation due to the lack of linguistic proficiency and the lack of acoustic abilities, the modalities of the right to an interpreter, and the qualifications of the interpreter.

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