DOC/OS(XXX)247

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2) Fair Hearing
The essential elements of a fair hearing include:
a) equality of arms between the parties to proceedings, whether they be administrative, civil,
criminal, or military;
b) equality of all persons before any judicial body without any distinction whatsoever as regards
race, colour, ethnic origin, sex, gender, age, religion, creed, language, political or other
convictions, national or social origin, means, disability, birth, status or other circumstances;
c) equality of access by women and men to judicial bodies and equality before the law in any
legal proceedings;
d) respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, especially of women who participate in
legal proceedings as complainants, witnesses, victims or accused;
e) adequate opportunity to prepare a case, present arguments and evidence and to challenge or
respond to opposing arguments or evidence;
f) an entitlement to consult and be represented by a legal representative or other qualified
persons chosen by the party at all stages of the proceedings;
g) an entitlement to the assistance of an interpreter if he or she cannot understand or speak the
language used in or by the judicial body;
h) an entitlement to have a party’s rights and obligations affected only by a decision based solely
on evidence presented to the judicial body;
i) an entitlement to a determination of their rights and obligations without undue delay and
with adequate notice of and reasons for the decisions; and
j) an entitlement to an appeal to a higher judicial body.
3) Public hearing:
a) All the necessary information about the sittings of judicial bodies shall be made available to
the public by the judicial body;
b) A permanent venue for proceedings by judicial bodies shall be established by the State and
widely publicised. In the case of ad-hoc judicial bodies, the venue designated for the duration
of their proceedings should be made public.
c) Adequate facilities shall be provided for attendance by interested members of the public;
d) No limitations shall be placed by the judicial body on the category of people allowed to
attend its hearings where the merits of a case are being examined;
e) Representatives of the media shall be entitled to be present at and report on judicial
proceedings except that a judge may restrict or limit the use of cameras during the hearings;
f) The public and the media may not be excluded from hearings before judicial bodies except if
it is determined to be
(i) in the interest of justice for the protection of children, witnesses or the identity of victims
of sexual violence
(ii) for reasons of public order or national security in an open and democratic society that
respects human rights and the rule of law.
g) Judicial bodies may take steps or order measures to be taken to protect the identity and
dignity of victims of sexual violence, and the identity of witnesses and complainants who may
be put at risk by reason of their participation in judicial proceedings.
h) Judicial bodies may take steps to protect the identity of accused persons, witnesses or
complainants where it is in the best interest of a child.
i) Nothing in these Guidelines shall permit the use of anonymous witnesses where the judge
and the defence is unaware of the witnesses’ identity at trial.
j) Any judgement rendered in legal proceedings, whether civil or criminal, shall be pronounced
in public.

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