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Part Three The Specific Rights of the Defence, Ch.7 The Right to be Presumed Innocent

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: 25 June 2024

Presumption of innocence — Right to fair trial — Judicial independence/impartiality — Right to silence — Witnesses — Burden of proof (and jurisdiction) — Burden of proof — Drug trafficking — Rape and sexual violence — Equality of arms — Fact-finding and inquiry

The right to be presumed innocent is spelled out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), and the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR). The restriction of the application of the specific fair-trial rights to criminal proceedings, as opposed to civil, administrative, disciplinary, or other proceedings, is legitimate. This chapter discusses the general characteristics of the guarantee of the right to be presumed innocent, and presents definitions of ‘charged with a criminal offence’, ‘presumed’, ‘innocent’, ‘proved’ guilty, and proved guilty ‘according to law’. The relationship between the presumption of innocence and other aspects of the right to a fair trial is discussed, along with the specific problems arising with the guarantee, the ‘outcome-related’ aspects of the guarantee, and the ‘reputation-related’ aspects of the guarantee.

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