MINELRES: ERRC: Strasbourg Court Finds that Czech Government Violated Right to Fair Trial

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Fri Mar 10 20:36:23 2006


Original sender: European Roma Rights Centre <errc@errc.org>


Anonymous witnesses violate fair trial and cross examination
requirements under European Convention on Human Rights.

1 March 2006:  Budapest, Hungary, Prague, Czech Republic:

The European Roma Rights Centre along with Czech attorney David Strupek
filed an action to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Hasan
Krasniki on 2 September 1999.  Krasniki was found guilty of production
and possession of narcotics in 1997 through the testimony of two
anonymous witnesses who did not use their true names and who testified
behind a curtain, one of whom did not testify at the final hearing, and
one of whom claimed fear of violence. Czech authorities based their
approval of these tactics on Czech law which has since been changed. 
The Czech court ignored the fact that the defendant was not even in the
Czech Republic much of the time claimed.

The Court found that while anonymous witnesses may be compatible with
the Convention, in this case they were not.  Any such use of anonymous
witnesses must be counterbalanced to test the witnesses' reliability and
no conviction should be based solely or decisively on anonymous
statements. Since this was the case, the Court found a violation of
Article 6.1 and 6.3(d) (right to a fair trial) and awarded the Applicant
2,500 EUR.

For further information on this case, contact David Strupek at 
strupek@ur.cer.cz
or Dianne Post, Legal Director, ERRC at dianne.post@errc.org,
+36-1-413-2226.
_____________________________________________

The European Roma Rights Centre is an international public interest law
organisation which monitors the rights of Roma and provides legal
defence in cases of human rights abuse. For more information about the
European Roma Rights Centre, visit the ERRC on the web at
http://www.errc.org.

European Roma Rights Centre
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93
Hungary


Phone: +36 1 4132200
Fax:   +36 1 4132201

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