Fair Trial Rights and Their Relation to the Death Penalty in Africa
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A fair trial is a basic element of the notion of the rule of law, and the principles of ‘due process’ and ‘the rule of law’ are fundamental to the protection of human rights. At the centre of any legal system, therefore, must be a means by which legal rights are asserted and breaches remedied through the process of a fair trial in court, as the law is useless without effective remedies. The fairness of the legal process has a particular significance in criminal cases, as it protects against human rights abuses. Hence, constitutional due process and elementary justice require that the judicial functions of trial and sentencing be conducted with fundamental fairness, especially where the irreversible sanction of the death penalty is involved.