CCPR/C/GC/32 Page 2 interpreted in relation to their respective legal systems, the Committee notes that it cannot be left to the sole discretion of domestic law to determine the essential content of Covenant guarantees. 5. While reservations to particular clauses of article 14 may be acceptable, a general reservation to the right to a fair trial would be incompatible with the object and purpose of the Covenant.1 6. While article 14 is not included in the list of non-derogable rights of article 4, paragraph 2 of the Covenant, States derogating from normal procedures required under article 14 in circumstances of a public emergency should ensure that such derogations do not exceed those strictly required by the exigencies of the actual situation. The guarantees of fair trial may never be made subject to measures of derogation that would circumvent the protection of nonderogable rights. Thus, for example, as article 6 of the Covenant is non-derogable in its entirety, any trial leading to the imposition of the death penalty during a state of emergency must conform to the provisions of the Covenant, including all the requirements of article 14.2 Similarly, as article 7 is also non-derogable in its entirety, no statements or confessions or, in principle, other evidence obtained in violation of this provision may be invoked as evidence in any proceedings covered by article 14, including during a state of emergency,3 except if a statement or confession obtained in violation of article 7 is used as evidence that torture or other treatment prohibited by this provision occurred.4 Deviating from fundamental principles of fair trial, including the presumption of innocence, is prohibited at all times.5 II. EQUALITY BEFORE COURTS AND TRIBUNALS 7. The first sentence of article 14, paragraph 1 guarantees in general terms the right to equality before courts and tribunals. This guarantee not only applies to courts and tribunals addressed in the second sentence of this paragraph of article 14, but must also be respected whenever domestic law entrusts a judicial body with a judicial task.6 8. The right to equality before courts and tribunals, in general terms, guarantees, in addition to the principles mentioned in the second sentence of Article 14, paragraph 1, those of equal access and equality of arms, and ensures that the parties to the proceedings in question are treated without any discrimination. 9. Article 14 encompasses the right of access to the courts in cases of determination of criminal charges and rights and obligations in a suit at law. Access to administration of justice must effectively be guaranteed in all such cases to ensure that no individual is deprived, in 1 General comment, No. 24 (1994) on issues relating to reservations made upon ratification or accession to the Covenant or the Optional Protocols thereto, or in relation to declarations under article 41 of the Covenant, para. 8. 2 General comment No. 29 (2001) on article 4: Derogations during a state of emergency, para. 15. 3 Ibid, paras. 7 and 15. 4 Cf. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, article 15. 5 General comment No. 29 (2001) on article 4: Derogations during a state of emergency, para. 11. 6 Communication No. 1015/2001, Perterer v. Austria, para. 9.2 (disciplinary proceedings against a civil servant); Communication No. 961/2000, Everett v. Spain, para. 6.4 (extradition).

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