This book concludes that international criminal law provides the accused with a qualified right to be present at trial. The right confers on the accused the choice to attend trial and is coupled with a duty imposed on the court or tribunal attempting to conduct the trial whereby it cannot prevent the accused from attending trial if he or she so desires. That right can be voluntarily waived by the accused if he or she has received notice sufficient to make an informed decision about whether he or she wishes to appear. There is also growing recognition of the idea that the accused has a duty to be present and that his or her failure to comply with the responsibilities of that duty can result in trial being conducted in his or her absence. Trials in absentia are permissible so long as the accused’s absence is the result of an informed decision on the part of the accused and does not constitute a deprivation of the right to be present. Trials by default may also be conducted, however an accused tried in this manner must have the right to a new trial or some other fresh assessment of the charges after he or she comes under the control of the responsible court or tribunal. This approach creates a balance between respecting the accused’s right to be present, which can be instrumental to preserving the accused’s fair trial rights, and ensuring that the interests of the other trial participants can also be fulfilled.

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