School of Law

Prosecuting International Crimes When the Accused Are Fugitives: The Prospect of Trials In Absentia

02 March 2016 | 12:00 - 13:00 | Seminar
1.09, Liberty Building

This is a free event but registration is required in advance. A light lunch will be provided.

Nowadays, International Criminal Justice faces serious challenges concerning the prosecution of international crimes. In particular, in many legal cases the accused are fugitives and international criminal tribunals cannot try them because there is a general opposition to the conduct of trials in absentia (i.e. in the accused’s absence). The debate on the use of these procedures is longstanding and it includes opposite views of International Criminal Law and Procedure and of the goals of international criminal proceedings.

This presentation considers the issue of the prosecution of international crimes when the accused are absent from trial, pointing out the emerging challenges for international criminal tribunals. The researcher argues for a more ‘open’ approach to trials in absentia, using them as an exceptional procedure when the criminal proceeding would be otherwise halted due to the defendant’s absence. It is posited that, given a set of procedural safeguards, trials in absentia are compatible with the system of International Criminal Justice and they can fulfil the goals of achieving justice and protecting the rights of the accused.

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