Increasing the Efficiency of the Criminal Process at the International Criminal Court, While Preserving Individual Rights

by Shehzad Charania and John Doyle*

International Criminal Court

The International Criminal Court

In operation for more than a decade, the International Criminal Court is often the subject of criticism for its lengthy trials and inefficient procedures.  The Court has completed three trials in that time, all of which have taken more than six years from the point of arrest to conviction or acquittal.  International criminal justice does, of course, throw up numerous complex challenges not found in domestic proceedings.  But 12 years of practice at the Court have confirmed that unnecessary delays occur in a number of areas, which have the potential to interfere with the rights of the accused, and, more broadly, the perception of the trial process among victims and affected communities, and the public at large.  Finally, delays have financial, logistical as well as other legal implications.

Last week, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Japan convened an all-day seminar, in conjunction with the Hague Institute for Global Justice.  The seminar, entitled “Increasing the Efficiency of the Criminal Process, while Preserving Individual Rights”, and moderated by Professor Håkan Friman, provided a unique opportunity for interaction, and discussion of radical ideas, between representatives of the Court, including over a third of the Court’s Judges, and senior members of the Office of the Prosecutor, the ad hoc tribunals, ICC States Parties, members of the Bar, NGOs and academia. Continue reading

Conference: Proof In International Criminal Trials

Court HammerFrom 27-28 June 2014, Bangor Law School and the Bangor Centre for International Law will host a conference on Proof in International Criminal Trials.

There is now an impressive body of literature on the precise scope, context and application of rules of evidence in international criminal trials. However, issues surrounding proof and reasoning on evidence in international criminal law have remained relatively under-examined to date.

By bringing together judges, practitioners and leading scholars on evidence, international criminal procedure and analytical methods, this conference will comprehensively address issues related to proof in international criminal proceedings.

These issues include, inter alia, the means by which inferences are drawn, how reasoning on findings of fact is articulated in judgments, and how witness credibility is assessed. Participants will analyse some of the challenges of fact-finding in the complex context of international criminal trials, which often involve large masses of evidence and hundreds of witnesses.

In order to register, please click here.

The ICC and ICTY: Upholding International Criminal Law?

ICC Prosecutor Bensouda (c) Max Koot

Last week, Chatham House hosted a guest lecture entitled “The International Criminal Court and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia: upholding international criminal law?”. The panel was composed of Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and Judge Meron, President of the ICTY and chaired by Dr Abiodun Williams, President of The Hague Institute for Global Justice.

The session tackled the difficult issues that have been faced by the ICC and the ICTY including both courts lack of police powers to enforce the decisions of its judges, the recurring criticism that the ICC’s prosecutorial strategy is biased against African nations and the recent series of contradictory decisions from the ICTY Appeals Chamber, which some argue have introduced uncertainty into the law on aiding and abetting under international criminal law. Continue reading