Edited by David Cole, Federico Fabbrini and Arianna Vedaschi
In recent years a remarkable development has occurred in criminal justice systems around the world: an increase in the use of testimony from witnesses whose identities are kept secret. Most strikingly, use of anonymous testimony has expanded vastly in adversarial systems despite the long-recognized right of an accused to confront his or her accusers. Once confined to trials of war criminals before international tribunals, terrorists and other extraordinary defendants, anonymous testimony has become a normal part of criminal justice throughout much of the world. In the United States, by contrast, shielding a witness’s identity in criminal cases is almost unheard of. In fact, during the period in which other adversarial systems have embraced anonymous testimony, the US Supreme Court has issued a series of rulings strengthening the right of criminal defendants to confront their accusers in open court. Anonymous witnesses have been permitted to testify in US courts in cases involving terrorism and gang-related murders, for example, but they truly remain the exception. At first blush, it might appear that if there is to be anonymous testimony it should be – as it is in the United States – a rare occurrence because of both the resulting limitations on the rights of defendants and the increased risk of erroneous convictions. However there is a viable argument that normalizing anonymous testimony, as has occurred in the three countries surveyed here – the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand – better protects the interests of defendants. Normalization is arguably preferable because judges and lawyers may develop better safeguards for routine,
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.