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Part Two The General Fair Trial Guarantees, Ch.5 The Right to a Public Hearing

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 a public hearing — Witnesses — Terrorism — Terrorism, financing — Unlawful confinement — NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) — Fact-finding and inquiry

The right to a public hearing was one of the original trial rights considered in the quest to draft an international instrument for the protection of human rights. It must be acknowledged that the public-hearing guarantee comprises two distinct aspects. On the one hand, it is set out in Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) as an individual right of the accused, of somewhat doubtful value. On the other hand, it constitutes an institutional guarantee, a way of ensuring that the administration of (criminal) justice is subject to public scrutiny and contributes to respect for the law and the persons involved — not just the accused but also witnesses, experts, and other persons appearing before the court. This chapter discusses the right to a public hearing, the purpose of the guarantee of a public trial, the obligation to pronounce the judgment publicly, the possibility of waiving the right to a public trial, the substance of the right to a public hearing, and limitations and exceptions of this right.

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