News / Asia

New Amnesty Manual Aims at Fair Trials

FILE - An Amnesty International activist shouts slogans in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 1, 2014.FILE - An Amnesty International activist shouts slogans in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 1, 2014.
x
FILE - An Amnesty International activist shouts slogans in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 1, 2014.
FILE - An Amnesty International activist shouts slogans in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, April 1, 2014.
Al Pessin
Amnesty International has issued a new manual designed to promote fair trials around the world, and says it should have an impact even in some of the globe’s most repressive countries.

The thick paperback manual has chapters on such topics as the “Right to liberty” and the “Right to equality before the law.”  It includes sections on dealing with torture, children’s rights, death penalty cases and military courts, among others.
 
The manual is aimed at lawyers and judges, but the previous edition, published 15 years ago, was also used by ordinary people to help them press for their own rights.
 
Amnesty’s head of International Law and Policy, Michael Bochenek, says fair trial problems are concentrated in repressive societies, but also exist in developed democracies.  But he says the problems are most prevalent in countries in crisis.
 
“We continue to see backsliding year in and year out when it comes to things like how you respond to public protest, how you deal with political opponents, how you avoid reaching for easy solutions in an effort to solve what is actually a far more difficult social problem,” says Bochenek.
 
He says the manual is based on international and regional legal standards, and so provides a tool to educate judges, lawyers and political leaders, and to put pressure on them when necessary.
 
“I think there is a growing recognition of what it takes to adhere to due process.  And I think there is more sensitivity than ever before and more opportunity for states to be held to account publicly than ever before,” says Bochenek.
 
He says no official wants to be singled out for using torture or for violating widely-recognized rights, even in the most repressive societies.
 
“It may be that in particular cases where we are seeing the most abuses, these kinds of standards that we are pointing to are going to be disregarded.  But it makes a difference over time, in the way that more generally they respect the fair trial rights that everybody should have,” says he.
 
Bochenek says no single project, like the Fair Trials Manual, can end the many problems in legal systems around the world.  But he says it is an important part of the effort to protect what he calls “one of the basic building blocks of life in a democratic society.”

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid