Fair trial / right to have one’s cause heard – article 7
Right to a defence
The right of an accused to be informed of the charges brought against them is a corollary of
the right to a defence and a key element of the right to fair trial (Abubakari Mohamed v The
United Republic of Tanzania, Merits, Application 007/2013, 3 June 2016, para 158). Failure
to inform the accused of the all the elements of the charges against them constitute a violation
of the right to fair trial (Mohamed, para 161). Additionally, relying solely on the evidence of
the prosecution without consideration for the defence of an accused person amounts to a
violation of the right to fair trial (Mohamed, para 194).
The right to defence also implies that the accused person has a right to communicate with his
lawyer and be given adequate time and facilities to prepare his defence commensurate with
the nature of the nature of proceedings and circumstances of the case (African Commission on
Human and Peoples’ Rights v Libya, Merits, Application 002/2013, 3 June 2016, para 94).