Domukovsky and Others v Georgia,   UN Human Rights Committee (1995) (excerpts)

Domukovsky and Others v Georgia,   UN Human Rights Committee Communication 623/1995 (excerpts)


18.9 The Committee notes that it is uncontested that the authors were forced to be absent during long periods of the trial, and that Mr. Domukovsky was unrepresented for part of the trial, whereas both Mr. Tsiklauri and Mr. Gelbakhiani were represented by lawyers whose services they had refused, and were not allowed to conduct their own defence or to be represented by lawyers of their choice. The Committee affirms that at a trial in which the death penalty can be imposed, which was the situation for each author, the right to a defence is inalienable and should be adhered to at every instance and without exception. This entails the right to be tried in one's presence, to be defended by counsel of one's own choosing, and not to be forced to accept ex-officio counsel(3). In the instant case, the State party has not shown that it took all reasonable measures to ensure the authors' continued presence at the trial, despite their alleged disruptive behaviour. Nor did the State party ensure that each of the authors was at all times defended by a lawyer of his own choosing. Accordingly, the Committee concludes that the facts in the instant case disclose a violation of article 14, paragraph 3(d), in respect of each author.
full opportunity to each party to challenge the submissions of the other, thereby violating the principles of equality before the courts and of fair trial contained in article 14, paragraph 1, of the Covenant.