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Tierce and Others v. San Marino

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image of Human Rights Case Digest

When objective impartiality is questioned, there must be verifiable grounds for suspecting bias. In such cases even appearances are important. Applicants' subjective concerns had to be justified from an objective standpoint. Combination of the functions of investigating and trial judge at first instance justified concerns. Moreover, when an appellate court had to examine factual issues and points of law and carry out an overall determination of guilt or innocence, it could not reach a verdict without directly assessing the evidence given in person by the defendant if he wished to show that he had not committed the alleged criminal offence. The right for the accused to give evidence in person before an appellate court stemmed from the principle that hearings should be heard in public, which principle pursued the aim of securing the accused's defence rights.


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