International Criminal Procedure

International Criminal Procedure

The Interface of Civil Law and Common Law Legal Systems

Edited by Linda Carter and Fausto Pocar

The emergence of international criminal courts, beginning with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and including the International Criminal Court, has also brought an evolving international criminal procedure. In this book, the authors examine selected issues that reflect a blending of, or choice between, civil law and common law models of procedure. The topics include background on civil law and common law legal systems; plea bargaining; witness proofing; written and oral evidence; self-representation and the use of assigned, standby, and amicus counsel; the role of victims; and the right to appeal.

Chapter 7: Right to appeal

Magali Maystre

Subjects: law - academic, comparative law, criminal law and justice, public international law, politics and public policy, terrorism and security


The appellate proceedings before international courts and tribunals are a mixture of civil law and common law approaches. This blending of traditions has not always led to an overall satisfactory compromise consistent with the highest standard of a fair trial. In the spirit of a civil law approach, appellate proceedings are broadly conceived and attribute a right to appeal against convictions and sentence to both the defendant and the prosecutor. However, the appellate proceedings under discussion tend more towards a common law approach in not allowing for a trial de novo and limiting the admission of additional evidence on appeal. Given this combination, the appeal judges of international criminal courts and tribunals have faced two major issues that have been problematical in the development of the procedures in the courts. This chapter will examine them in turn. The first question concerns how to respect the fundamental right to an appeal in the case of an appeal by the prosecutor against an acquittal.

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