Saidova v Tajikistan, UN Human Rights Committee (2001)(excerpts)

Saidova v Tajikistan, UN Human Rights Committee Communication 964/2001(excerpts)


6.8 As to the alleged violation of article 14, paragraph 3 (b), in that the author's husband was legally represented only towards the end of the investigation and not by counsel of his own choice, with no opportunity to consult his representative, and that, contrary to article 14, paragraph 3 (d), Mr. Saidov was not informed of his right to be represented by a lawyer upon arrest, and that his lawyer was frequently absent during the trial, the Committee once more regrets the absence of a relevant State party explanation. It recalls its jurisprudence that, particularly in cases involving capital punishment, it is axiomatic that the accused must be effectively assisted by a lawyer See for example Aliev v Ukraine, Communication 781/1997, Robinson v. Jamaica, Communication No. 223/1987, Brown v. Jamaica, Communication No. 775/1997. (7) at all stages of the proceedings. In the present case, the author's husband faced several charges which carried the death penalty, without any effective legal defence, although a lawyer had been assigned to him by the investigator. It remains unclear from the material before the Committee whether the author or her husband have requested a private lawyer, or have contested the choice of the assigned lawyer. However, and in the absence of any relevant State party explanation on this issue, the Committee reiterates that while article 14, paragraph 3 (d) does not entitle an accused to choose counsel free of charge, steps must be taken to ensure that counsel, once assigned, provides effective representation in the interest of justice. (8) Accordingly, the Committee is of the view that the facts before it reveal a violation of Mr. Saidov's rights under article 14, paragraphs 3 (b) and (d), of the Covenant.