AND MONITORING THE
Key conceptsThe principal fair trial standards are found in Article 14 of the Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights, which require, inter alia, the right to:
Human rights officers who serve as trial observers should:
• be informed promptly of any charges upon arrest; • be brought promptly before a judge or similar judicial officer; • a fair and usually public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal
established by law;
• have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of a defence; • communicate with counsel of one's own choosing; • be tried without undue delay; and • not to be compelled to testify against one's self or to confess guilt.
• conduct preliminary research on the facts and law of the trial; • interview the judge, prosecutor, defence counsel, and others; • obtain the key documents and review the trial dossier; • be seated in the courtroom so as to preserve impartiality; • take copious notes; • promptly produce a full report applying international standards of fairness.
Trial observation may serve as a tool for a broader analysis of the administration of
justice, including an assessment of the actual functioning, qualifications, and training of
the judges, court clerks, prosecutors, lawyers, other court personnel, police, prison officials
and other law enforcement personnel.