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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid