Representatives from OSCE field missions and NGOs shared experiences and exchanged good practices at the annual trial monitoring meeting held by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in Istanbul on 10 September 2012.
The annual meeting, the tenth of its kind, was held in connection with ODIHR’s role in building institutional memory in the area of trial monitoring activities across the OSCE and let participants address common challenges and discuss ways to harmonize trial monitoring practices.
“These meetings allow us to take a step back from our daily monitoring activities and to reflect on how to address common issues based on the experience of our colleagues,” said Maria Silvanyan, a National Legal Adviser at the OSCE Office in Yerevan.
The meeting provided an opportunity for staff from OSCE field operations to highlight different trial monitoring methodologies they can use in assisting the states in which they work comply with their OSCE commitments on fair trial standards. For the second straight year, the meeting was also open to NGOs working in the field.
“By enhancing the participation of civil society in these meetings ODIHR aims to provide them with the expertise, skills and tools necessary for conducting effective trial monitoring,” said Maria Alcidi, a Rule of Law Officer at ODIHR. “NGOs and OSCE field operations can also learn from each others’ experiences.”
The meeting will be followed by a two-day training session for representatives of OSCE field operations and civil society, at which participants will examine international standards on the defendant’s right to a lawyer and the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses.