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Since 1998, the Amnesty International Fair Trial Manual has been the trusted guide to fair trial standards for legal professionals the world over. The Second Edition is the fully revised and updated text for 2014.
Drawing on Amnesty International’s standing as an authoritative voice for interpreting international human rights law, the Manual provides a comprehensive, practical and accessible guide to international and regional fair trial standards.
Since first publication in 1998, the Manual has enjoyed notable success in terms of global reach and impact. The first edition was translated into 16 languages and is used by a wide range of practitioners, including NGOs, governments, legislators, UN bodies, the OSCE, trial observers and legal professionals.
The UN and other international bodies have found it to be a valuable and user-friendly resource for delivering training and facilitating international workshops worldwide. It is used in on-the-ground missions and in post-conflict situations, including by the UN. Bodies including the EU Commission turn to the Manual for guidance in drafting international legal standards.
A number of changes in the global legal and political context have taken place since the first edition was published in 1998. New standards have been adopted, for example relating to women deprived of their liberty and the right to access legal aid. (The first edition cites 65 legal standards; the second edition cites more than 140). There is growing recognition that many fair trial rights apply at all times and in all circumstances, even during states of emergency and armed conflicts.
In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in the USA, human rights, including fair trial rights, faced particular challenges. There is now more clarity that a state’s human rights obligations apply beyond its borders when it exercises control over a people or territory. Along with increased attention to discrimination within the criminal justice system, there is a growing consensus that fairness requires respect for the rights of victims in a manner consistent with the rights of the accused.