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African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights

Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Assistance in Africa, 2003



PRINCIPLES AND GUIDELINES ON THE RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL AND LEGAL ASSISTANCE IN AFRICA

 

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights;

Recalling its mandate under Article 45(c) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Charter) “to formulate and lay down principles and rules aimed at solving legal problems relating to human and peoples’ rights and fundamental freedoms upon which African states may base their legislation”;

Recalling Articles 5, 6, 7 and 26 of the Charter, which contain provisions relevant to the right to a fair trial;

Recognising that it is necessary to formulate and lay down principles and rules to further strengthen and supplement the provisions relating to fair trial in the Charter and to reflect international standards;

Recalling the resolution on the Right to Recourse and Fair Trial adopted at its 11th ordinary session in March 1992, the resolution on the Respect and the Strengthening of the Independence of the Judiciary adopted at its 19th ordinary session in March 1996 and the resolution Urging States to Envisage a Moratorium on the Death Penalty adopted at its 26th ordinary session in November 1999;

Recalling also the resolution on the Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Assistance, adopted at its 26th session held in November 1999, in which it decided to prepare general principles and guidelines on the right to a fair trial and legal assistance under the African Charter;

Solemnly proclaims these Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Assistance in Africa and urges that every effort is made so that they become generally known to everyone in Africa; are promoted and protected by civil society organisations, judges, lawyers, prosecutors, academics and their professional associations; are incorporated into their domestic legislation by State parties to the Charter and respected by them:

A. GENERAL PRINCIPLES APPLICABLE TO ALL LEGAL PROCEEDINGS:

1. Fair and Public Hearing

In the determination of any criminal charge against a person, or of a person’s rights and obligations, everyone shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a legally constituted competent, independent and impartial judicial body.

2. Fair Hearing

The essential elements of a fair hearing include:

(a) equality of arms between the parties to a 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 persons, 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.

1. 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

1. in the interest of justice for the protection of children, witnesses or the identity of victims of sexual violence

2. for reasons of public order or national security in an open and democratic society that respects human rights and the rule of law.

(a) 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.

(b) 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.

(c) Nothing in these Guidelines shall permit the use of anonymous witnesses, where the judge and the defence is unaware of the witness’ identity at trial.

Any judgement rendered in legal proceedings, whether civil or criminal, shall be pronounced in public.

1. Independent tribunal

(a) The independence of judicial bodies and judicial officers shall be guaranteed by the constitution and laws of the country and respected by the government, its agencies and authorities;

(b) Judicial bodies shall be established by law to have adjudicative functions to determine matters within their competence on the basis of the rule of law and in accordance with proceedings conducted in the prescribed manner;

(c) The judiciary shall have jurisdiction over all issues of a judicial nature and shall have exclusive authority to decide whether an issue submitted for decision is within the competence of a judicial body as defined by law;

(d) A judicial body’s jurisdiction may be determined, inter alia, by considering where the events involved in the dispute or offence took place, where the property in dispute is located, the place of residence or domicile of the parties and the consent of the parties;

(e) Military or other special tribunals that do not use the duly established procedure of the legal process shall not be created to displace the jurisdiction belonging to the ordinary judicial bodies;

(f) There shall not be any inappropriate or unwarranted interference with the judicial process nor shall decisions by judicial bodies be subject to revision except through judicial review, or the mitigation or commutation of sentence by competent authorities, in accordance with the law;

(g) All judicial bodies shall be independent from the executive branch.

(h) The process for appointments to judicial bodies shall be transparent and accountable and the establishment of an independent body for this purpose is encouraged. Any method of judicial selection shall safeguard the independence and impartiality of the judiciary.

(i) The sole criteria for appointment to judicial office shall be the suitability of a candidate for such office by reason of integrity, appropriate training or learning and ability.

(j) Any person who meets the criteria shall be entitled to be considered for judicial office without discrimination on any grounds such as race, colour, ethnic origin, language, sex, gender, political or other opinion, religion, creed, disability, national or social origin, birth, economic or other status. However, it shall not be discriminatory for states to:

1. prescribe a minimum age or experience for candidates for judicial office;

2. prescribe a maximum or retirement age or duration of service for judicial officers;

3. prescribe that such maximum or retirement age or duration of service may vary with different level of judges, magistrates or other officers in the judiciary;

4. require that only nationals of the state concerned shall be eligible for appointment to judicial office.

(a) No person shall be appointed to judicial office unless they have the appropriate training or learning that enables them to adequately fulfil their functions.

(b) Judges or members of judicial bodies shall have security of tenure until a mandatory retirement age or the expiry of their term of office.

(c) The tenure, adequate remuneration, pension, housing, transport, conditions of physical and social security, age of retirement, disciplinary and recourse mechanisms and other conditions of service of judicial officers shall be prescribed and guaranteed by law.

(d) Judicial officers shall not be:

1. liable in civil or criminal proceedings for improper acts or omissions in the exercise of their judicial functions;

2. removed from office or subject to other disciplinary or administrative procedures by reason only that their decision has been overturned on appeal or review by a higher judicial body;

3. appointed under a contract for a fixed term.

(a) Promotion of judicial officials shall be based on objective factors, in particular ability, integrity and experience.

(b) Judicial officials may only be removed or suspended from office for gross misconduct incompatible with judicial office, or for physical or mental incapacity that prevents them from undertaking their judicial duties.

(c) Judicial officials facing disciplinary, suspension or removal proceedings shall be entitled to guarantees of a fair hearing including the right to be represented by a legal representative of their choice and to an independent review of decisions of disciplinary, suspension or removal proceedings.

(d) The procedures for complaints against and discipline of judicial officials shall be prescribed by law. Complaints against judicial officers shall be processed promptly, expeditiously and fairly.

(e) Judicial officers are entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly. In exercising these rights, they shall always conduct themselves in accordance with the law and the recognized standards and ethics of their profession.

(f) Judicial officers shall be free to form and join professional associations or other organizations to represent their interests, to promote their professional training and to protect their status.

(g) States may establish independent or administrative mechanisms for monitoring the performance of judicial officers and public reaction to the justice delivery processes of judicial bodies. Such mechanisms, which shall be constituted in equal part of members the judiciary and representatives of the Ministry responsible for judicial affairs, may include processes for judicial bodies receiving and processing complaints against its officers.

(h) States shall endow judicial bodies with adequate resources for the performance of its their functions. The judiciary shall be consulted regarding the preparation of budget and its implementation.

5. Impartial Tribunal

(a) A judicial body shall base its decision only on objective evidence, arguments and facts presented before it. Judicial officers shall decide matters before them without any restrictions, improper influence, inducements, pressure, threats or interference, direct or indirect, from any quarter or for any reason.

(b) Any party to proceedings before a judicial body shall be entitled to challenge its impartiality on the basis of ascertainable facts that the fairness of the judge or judicial body appears to be in doubt.

(c) The impartiality of a judicial body could be determined on the basis of three relevant facts:

1. that the position of the judicial officer allows him or her to play a crucial role in the proceedings;

2. the judicial officer may have expressed an opinion which would influence the decision-making ;

3. the judicial official would have to rule on an action taken in a prior capacity.

(a) The impartiality of a judicial body would be undermined when:

1. a former public prosecutor or legal representative sits as a judicial officer in a case in which he or she prosecuted or represented a party;

2. a judicial official secretly participated in the investigation of a case;

3. a judicial official has some connection with the case or a party to the case;

4. a judicial official sits as member of an appeal tribunal in a case which he or she decided or participated in a lower judicial body.

In any of these circumstances, a judicial official would be under an obligation to step down.

(a) A judicial official may not consult a higher official authority before rendering a decision in order to ensure that his or her decision will be upheld.


JUDICIAL TRAINING:

(a) States shall ensure that judicial officials have appropriate education and training and should be made aware of the ideals and ethical duties of their office, of the constitutional and statutory protections for the rights of accused persons, victims and other litigants and of human rights and fundamental freedoms recognized by national and international law.

(b) States shall establish, where they do not exist, specialised institutions for the education and training of judicial officials and encourage collaboration amongst such institutions in countries in the region and throughout Africa.

(c) States shall ensure that judicial officials receive continuous training and education throughout their career including, where appropriate, in racial, cultural and gender sensitisation.

C. RIGHT TO AN EFFECTIVE REMEDY:

(a) Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by competent national tribunals for acts violating the rights granted by the constitution, by law or by the Charter, notwithstanding that the acts were committed by persons in an official capacity.

(b) The right to an effective remedy includes:

1. access to justice;

2. reparation for the harm suffered;

3. access to the factual information concerning the violations.

(a) Every State has an obligation to ensure that:

1. any person whose rights have been violated, including by persons acting in an official capacity, has an effective remedy by a competent judicial body;

2. any person claiming a right to remedy shall have such a right determined by competent judicial, administrative or legislative authorities;

3. any remedy granted shall be enforced by competent authorities;

4. any state body against which a judicial order or other remedy has been granted shall comply fully with such an order or remedy.

(a) The granting of amnesty to absolve perpetrators of human rights violations from accountability violates the right of victims to an effective remedy.

C. COURT RECORDS AND PUBLIC ACCESS:

(a) All information regarding judicial proceedings shall be accessible to the public, except information or documents that have been specifically determined by judicial officials not to be made public.

(b) States must ensure that proper systems exist for recording all proceedings before judicial bodies, storing such information and making it accessible to the public.

(c) All decisions of judicial bodies must be published and available to everyone throughout the country.

(d) The cost to the public of obtaining records of judicial proceedings or decisions should be kept to a minimum and should not be so high as to amount to a denial of access.


E. LOCUS STANDI:

States must ensure, through adoption of national legislation, that in regard to human rights violations, which are matters of public concern, any individual, group of individuals or non-governmental organization is entitled to bring an issue before judicial bodies for determination.

F. ROLE OF PROSECUTORS:

(a) States shall ensure that:

1. Prosecutors have appropriate education and training and should be made aware of the ideals and ethical duties of their office, of the constitutional and statutory protections for the rights of the suspect and the victim, and of human rights and fundamental freedoms recognized by national and international law, including the Charter.

2. Prosecutors are able to perform their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment, improper interference or unjustified exposure to civil, penal or other liability.

(a) Reasonable conditions of service of prosecutors, adequate remuneration and, where applicable, tenure, housing, transport, conditions of physical and social security, pension and age of retirement and other conditions of service shall be set out by law or published rules or regulations.

(b) Promotion of prosecutors, wherever such a system exists, shall be based on objective factors, in particular professional qualifications, ability, integrity and experience, and decided upon in accordance with fair and impartial procedures.

(c) Prosecutors like other citizens are entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly. In exercising these rights, prosecutors shall always conduct themselves in accordance with the law and the recognized standards and ethics of their profession.

(d) Prosecutors shall be free to form and join professional associations or other organizations to represent their interests, to promote their professional training and to protect their status.

(e) The office of prosecutors shall be strictly separated from judicial functions.

(f) Prosecutors shall perform an active role in criminal proceedings, including institution of prosecution and, where authorized by law or consistent with local practice, in the investigation of crime, supervision over the legality of these investigations, supervision of the execution of decisions of judicial bodies and the exercise of other functions as representatives of the public interest.

(g) Prosecutors shall, in accordance with the law, perform their duties fairly, consistently and expeditiously, and respect and protect dignity and uphold human rights, thus contributing to ensuring due process and the smooth functioning of the criminal justice system.

(h) In the performance of their duties, prosecutors shall:

1. carry out their functions impartially and avoid all political, social, racial, ethnic, religious, cultural, sexual, gender or any other kind of discrimination;

2. protect the public interest, act with objectivity, take proper account of the position of the suspect and the victim, and pay attention to all relevant circumstances, irrespective of whether they are to the advantage or disadvantage of the suspect;

3. keep matters in their possession confidential, unless the performance of duty or needs of justice require otherwise;

4. consider the views and concerns of victims when their personal interests are affected and ensure that victims are informed of their rights in accordance with the provisions below relating to victims.

(a) Prosecutors shall not initiate or continue prosecution, or shall make every effort to stay proceedings, when an impartial investigation shows the charge to be unfounded.

(b) Prosecutors shall give due attention to the prosecution of crimes committed by public officials, particularly corruption, abuse of power, grave violations of human rights and other crimes recognized by international law and, where authorized by law or consistent with local practice, the investigation of such offences.

(c) When prosecutors come into possession of evidence against suspects that they know or believe on reasonable grounds was obtained through recourse to unlawful methods, which constitute a grave violation of the suspect’s human rights, especially involving torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, or other abuses of human rights, they shall refuse to use such evidence against anyone other than those who used such methods, or inform the judicial body accordingly, and shall take all necessary steps to ensure that those responsible for using such methods are brought to justice.

(d) In order to ensure the fairness and effectiveness of prosecution, prosecutors shall strive to cooperate with the police, judicial bodies, the legal profession, paralegals, non-governmental organisations and other government agencies or institutions.

(e) Disciplinary offences of prosecutors shall be based on law or lawful regulations. Complaints against prosecutors, which allege that they acted in a manner that is inconsistent with professional standards, shall be processed expeditiously and fairly under appropriate procedures prescribed by law. Prosecutors shall have the right to a fair hearing including the right to be represented by a legal representative of their choice. The decision shall be subject to independent review.

(f) Disciplinary proceedings against prosecutors shall guarantee an objective evaluation and decision. They shall be determined in accordance with the law, the code of professional conduct and other established standards and ethics.

G. ACCESS TO LAWYERS AND LEGAL SERVICES:

(a) States shall ensure that efficient procedures and mechanisms for effective and equal access to lawyers are provided for all persons within their territory and subject to their jurisdiction, without distinction of any kind, such as discrimination based on race, colour, ethnic origin, sex, gender, language, religion, political, or other opinion, national or social origin, property, disability, birth, economic or other status.

(b) States shall ensure that an accused person or a party to a civil case is permitted representation by a lawyer of his or her choice, including a foreign lawyer duly accredited to the national bar.

(c) States and professional associations of lawyers shall promote programmes to inform the public about their rights and duties under the law and the important role of lawyers in protecting their fundamental rights and freedoms.

G. LEGAL AID AND LEGAL ASSISTANCE:

(a) The accused or a party to a civil case has a right to have legal assistance assigned to him or her in any case where the interest of justice so require, and without payment by the accused or party to a civil case if he or she does not have sufficient means to pay for it.

(b) The interests of justice should be determined by considering:

1. in criminal matters:

i) the seriousness of the offence;

ii) the severity of the sentence.

2. in civil cases:

i) the complexity of the case and the ability of the party to adequately represent himself or herself;

i ii) the rights that are affected;

j iii) the likely impact of the outcome of the case on the wider community.

(a) The interests of justice always require legal assistance for an accused in any capital case, including for appeal, executive clemency, commutation of sentence, amnesty or pardon.

(b) An accused person or a party to a civil case has the right to an effective defence or representation and has a right to choose his or her own legal representative at all stages of the case. They may contest the choice of his or her court-appointed lawyer.

(c) When legal assistance is provided by a judicial body, the lawyer appointed shall:

1. be qualified to represent and defend the accused or a party to a civil case;

2. have the necessary training and experience corresponding to the nature and seriousness of the matter;

3. be free to exercise his or her professional judgement in a professional manner free of influence of the State or the judicial body;

4. advocate in favour of the accused or party to a civil case;

5. be sufficiently compensated to provide an incentive to accord the accused or party to a civil case adequate and effective representation.

(a) Professional associations of lawyers shall co-operate in the organisation and provision of services, facilities and other resources, and shall ensure that:

1. when legal assistance is provided by the judicial body, lawyers with the experience and competence commensurate with the nature of the case make themselves available to represent an accused person or party to a civil case;

2. where legal assistance is not provided by the judicial body in important or serious human rights cases, they provide legal representation to the accused or party in a civil case, without any payment by him or her.

(a) Given the fact that in many States the number of qualified lawyers is low, States should recognize the role that para-legals could play in the provision of legal assistance and establish the legal framework to enable them to provide basic legal assistance.

(b) States should, in conjunction with the legal profession and non-governmental organizations, establish training, the qualification procedures and rules governing the activities and conduct of para-legals. States shall adopt legislation to grant appropriate recognition to para-legals.

(c) Para-legals could provide essential legal assistance to indigent persons, especially in rural communities and would be the link with the legal profession.

(d) Non-governmental organizations should be encouraged to establish legal assistance programmes and to train para-legals.

(e) States that recognize the role of para-legals should ensure that they are granted similar rights and facilities afforded to lawyers, to the extent necessary to enable them to carry out their functions with independence.

G. INDEPENDENCE OF LAWYERS: 

(a) States, professional associations of lawyers and educational institutions shall ensure that lawyers have appropriate education and training and be made aware of the ideals and ethical duties of the lawyer and of human rights and fundamental freedoms recognized by national and international law.

(b) States shall ensure that lawyers:

1. are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference;

2. are able to travel and to consult with their clients freely both within their own country and abroad;

3. shall not suffer, or be threatened with, prosecution or administrative, economic or other sanctions for any action taken in accordance with recognized professional duties, standards and ethics.

(a) States shall recognize and respect that all communications and consultations between lawyers and their clients within their professional relationship are confidential.

(b) It is the duty of the competent authorities to ensure lawyers access to appropriate information, files and documents in their possession or control in sufficient time to enable lawyers to provide effective legal assistance to their clients. Such access should be provided at the earliest appropriate time.

(c) Lawyers shall enjoy civil and penal immunity for relevant statements made in good faith in written or oral pleadings or in their professional appearances before a judicial body or other legal or administrative authority.

(d) Where the security of lawyers is threatened as a result of discharging their functions, they shall be adequately safeguarded by the authorities.

(e) Lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients’ causes as a result of discharging their functions.

(f) Lawyers shall at all times maintain the honour and dignity of their profession as essential agents of the administration of justice.

(g) Lawyers, in protecting the rights of their clients and in promoting the cause of justice, shall seek to uphold human rights and fundamental freedoms recognized by national and international law and shall at all times act freely and diligently in accordance with the law and recognized standards and ethics of the legal profession.

(h) Lawyers shall always loyally respect the interests of their clients.

(i) Lawyers like other citizens are entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly. In particular, they shall have the right to take part in public discussion of matters concerning the law, the administration of justice and the promotion and the protection of human rights and to join or form local, national or international organizations and attend their meetings, without suffering professional restrictions by reason of their lawful action or their membership in a lawful organization. In exercising these rights, lawyers shall always conduct themselves in accordance with the law and the recognized standards and ethics of the legal profession.

(j) Lawyers shall be entitled to form and join self-governing professional associations to represent their interests, promote their continuing education and training and protect their professional integrity. The executive body of the professional association shall be elected by its members and shall exercise its functions without external interference.

(k) Codes of professional conduct for lawyers shall be established by the legal profession through its appropriate organs, or by legislation, in accordance with national law and custom and recognized international standards and norms.

(l) Charges or complaints made against lawyers in their professional capacity shall be processed expeditiously and fairly under appropriate procedures. Lawyers shall have the right to a fair hearing, including the right to be assisted by a lawyer of their choice.

(m) Disciplinary proceedings against lawyers shall be brought before an impartial disciplinary committee established by the legal profession, before an independent statutory authority, or even before a judicial body, and shall be subject to an independent judicial review.

(n) All disciplinary proceedings shall be determined in accordance with the code of professional conduct, other recognized standards and ethics of the legal profession and international standards.

G. CROSS BORDER COLLABORATION AMONGST LEGAL PROFESSIONALS:

(a) States shall ensure that national legislation does not prevent collaboration amongst legal professionals in countries in their region and throughout Africa.

(b) States shall encourage the establishment of agreements amongst states and professional legal associations in their region that permit cross-border collaboration amongst lawyers including legal representation, training and education, and exchange of information and expertise.

G. ACCESS TO JUDICIAL SERVICES:

(a) States shall ensure that judicial bodies are accessible to everyone within their territory and jurisdiction, without distinction of any kind, such as discrimination based on race, colour, disability, ethnic origin, sex, gender, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, economic or other status.

(b) States must take special measures to ensure that rural communities and women have access to judicial services. States must ensure that law enforcement and judicial officials are adequately trained to deal sensitively and professionally with the special needs and requirements of women.

(c) In countries where there exist groups, communities or regions whose needs for judicial services are not met, particularly where such groups have distinct cultures, traditions or languages or have been the victims of past discrimination, States shall take special measures to ensure that adequate judicial services are accessible to them.

(d) States shall ensure that access to judicial services is not impeded including by the distance to the location of judicial institutions, the lack of information about the judicial system, the imposition of unaffordable or excessive court fees and the lack of assistance to understand the procedures and to complete formalities.

G. RIGHT OF CIVILIANS NOT TO BE TRIED BY MILITARY COURTS:

a) The only purpose of Military Courts shall be to determine offences of a purely military nature committed by military personnel.

b) While exercising this function, Military Courts are required to respect fair trial standards enunciated in the African Charter and in these guidelines.

c) Military courts should not in any circumstances whatsoever have jurisdiction over civilians. Similarly, Special Tribunals should not try offences which fall within the jurisdiction of regular courts.

M. PROVISIONS APPLICABLE TO ARREST AND DETENTION:

1. Right to liberty and security

(a) States shall ensure that the right of everyone on its territory and under its jurisdiction to liberty and security of person is respected.
(b) States must ensure that no one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest or detention, and that arrest, detention or imprisonment shall only be carried out strictly in accordance with the provisions of the law and by competent officials or persons authorized for that purpose, pursuant to a warrant, on reasonable suspicion or for probable cause.

(c) Each State shall establish rules under its national law indicating those officials authorized to order deprivation of liberty, establishing the conditions under which such orders may be given, and stipulating penalties for officials who, without legal justification, refuse to provide information on any detention.

(d) Each State shall likewise ensure strict supervision, including a clear chain of command, of all law enforcement officials responsible for apprehensions, arrests, detentions, custody, transfers and imprisonment, and of other officials authorized by law to use force and firearms.

(e) Unless there is sufficient evidence that deems it necessary to prevent a person arrested on a criminal charge from fleeing, interfering with witnesses or posing a clear and serious risk to others, States must ensure that they are not kept in custody pending their trial. However, release may be subject to certain conditions or guarantees, including the payment of bail.

(f) Expectant mothers and mothers of infants shall not be kept in custody pending their trial, but their release may be subject to certain conditions or guarantees, including the payment of bail.

(g) States shall ensure, including by the enactment of legal provisions, that officials or other persons who arbitrarily arrest or detain any person are brought to justice.

(h) States shall ensure, including by the enactment of legal provisions and adoption of procedures, that anyone who has been the victim of unlawful arrest or detention is enabled to claim compensation.

1. Rights upon arrest:

a) Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his or her arrest and shall be promptly informed, in a language he or she understands, of any charges against him or her.

b) Anyone who is arrested or detained shall be informed upon arrest, in a language he or she understands, of the right to legal representation and to be examined by a doctor of his or her choice and the facilities available to exercise this right.

c) Anyone who is arrested or detained has the right to inform, or have the authorities notify, their family or friends. The information must include the fact of their arrest or detention and the place the person is kept in custody.

d) If the arrested or detained person is a foreign national, he or she must be promptly informed of the right to communicate with his or her embassy or consular post. In addition, if the person is a refugee or stateless person or under the protection of an inter-governmental organization, he or she must be notified without delay of the right to communicate with the appropriate international organization.

e) States must ensure that any person arrested or detained is provided with the necessary facilities to communicate, as appropriate, with his or her lawyer, doctor, family and friends, and in the case of a foreign national, his or her embassy or consular post or an international organization.

f) Any person arrested or detained shall have prompt access to a lawyer and, unless the person has waived this right in writing, shall not be obliged to answer any questions or participate in any interrogation without his or her lawyer being present.

g) Anyone who is arrested or detained shall be given reasonable facilities to receive visits from family and friends, subject to restriction and supervision only as are necessary in the interests of the administration of justice and of security of the institution.

h) Any form of detention and all measures affecting the human rights of a person arrested or detained shall be subject to the effective control of a judicial or other authority. In order to prevent arbitrary arrest and detention or disappearances, states should establish procedures that require police or other officials with the authority to arrest and detain to inform the appropriate judicial official or other authority of the arrest and detention. The judicial official or other authority shall exercise control over the official detaining the person.

1. Right to be brought promptly before a judicial officer:

a) Anyone who is arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought before a judicial officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release.

b) The purpose of the review before a judicial or other authority includes to:

1. assess whether sufficient legal reason exists for the arrest;

2. assess whether detention before trial is necessary;

3. determine whether the detainee should be released from custody, and the conditions, if any, for such release;

4. safeguard the well-being of the detainee;

5. prevent violations of the detainee’s fundamental rights;

6. give the detainee the opportunity to challenge the lawfulness of his or her detention and to secure release if the arrest or detention violates his or her rights.

1. Right of arrested or detained person to take proceedings before a judicial body:

Anyone who is deprived of his or her liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings before a judicial body, in order that that judicial body may decide without delay on the lawfulness of his or her detention and order release if the detention is not lawful.

2. Right to habeas corpus:

a) States shall enact legislation, where it does not exist, to ensure the right to habeas corpus, amparo or similar procedures.

b) Anyone concerned or interested in the well-being, safety or security of a person deprived of his or her liberty has the right to a prompt and effective judicial remedy as a means of determining the whereabouts or state of health of such a person and/or identifying the authority ordering or carrying out the deprivation of liberty.

c) In such proceedings, competent national authorities shall have access to all places where persons deprived of their liberty are being held and to each part of those places, as well as to any place in which there are grounds to believe that such persons may be found.

d) Any other competent authority entitled under law of the State or by any international legal instrument to which the State is a party may also have access to such places.

e) Judicial bodies shall at all times hear and act upon petitions for habeas corpus, amparo or similar procedures. No circumstances whatever must be invoked as a justification for denying the right to habeas corpus, amparo or similar procedures.

1. Right to be detained in a place recognised by law:

a) Any person deprived of liberty shall be held in an officially recognised place of detention.

b) Accurate information shall be recorded regarding any person deprived of liberty including:

1. his or her identity;

2. the reasons for arrest;

3. the time of arrest and the taking of the arrested person to a place of custody;

4. the time of his first appearance before a judicial or other authority;

5. the identity of the law enforcement officials concerned;

6. precise information concerning the place of custody;

7. details of the judicial official or other authority informed of the arrest and detention.

a) Accurate information on the detention of such persons and their place or places of detention, including transfers, shall be promptly available to their family members, their legal representative or to any other persons having a legitimate interest in the information.

b) An official up-to-date register of all persons deprived of liberty shall be maintained in every place of detention and shall be made available to any judicial or other competent and independent national authority seeking to trace the whereabouts of the a detained person.

7. Right to humane treatment: 

(a) States shall ensure that all persons under any form of detention or imprisonment are treated in a humane manner and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.

(b) In particular States must ensure that no person, lawfully deprived of his or her liberty is subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. States shall ensure that special measures are taken to protect women detainees from ill-treatment, including making certain that their interrogation is conducted by women police or judicial officials.

(c) Women shall at all times be detained separately from men and while in custody they shall receive care, protection and all necessary individual assistance – psychological, medical and physical – that they may require in view of their sex and gender.

(d) It shall be prohibited to take undue advantage of the situation of a detained or imprisoned person for the purpose of compelling him or her to confess, to incriminate himself or herself or to testify against any other person.

(e) No detained person while being interrogated shall be subject to violence, threats or methods of interrogation which impair his or her capacity of decision or his or her judgement.

(f) No detained person shall, even with his or her consent, be subjected to any medical or scientific experimentation which could be detrimental to his or her health.

(g) A detained person or his or her legal representative or family shall have the right to lodge a complaint to the relevant authorities regarding his or her treatment, in particular in case of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

(h) States shall ensure that effective mechanisms exist for the receipt and investigation of such complaints. The right to lodge complaints and the existence of such mechanisms should be promptly made known to all arrested or detained persons.

(i) States shall ensure, including by the enactment of legal provisions, that officials or other persons who subject arrested or detained persons to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment are brought to justice.