ADC-ICTY Annual Conference 2015

ADC-ICTY-300x300The Association of Defence Counsel Practising before the ICTY and Representing Counsel before the MICT (ADC-ICTY) is pleased to announce its annual conference for 2015, on “The Situation of Defence Counsel at International Criminal Courts and Tribunals”.

Date: 5 December 2015

Time: 09:00 to 17:30

Location: Bel Air Hotel, Johan de Wittlaan 30, 2517 JR The Hague

This one-day conference will focus on the situation of Defence Counsel at International Criminal Courts and Tribunals and will feature four distinguished panels on various topics in relation to the role and importance of the Defence.

The Opening and Closing Remarks will be delivered by ADC-ICTY President, Colleen M. Rohan, and panellists include renowned Defence Counsel, Judges and representatives from various international criminal courts and tribunals.

Panel I: The Role of Defence Counsel at International Criminal Courts and Tribunals

Panel II: The Necessity of a Defence Office from the International and National Perspective

Panel III: The Importance of a Bar Association for International Criminal Courts and Tribunals

Panel IV: The Future of Defence Counsel on the International and National Level

Confirmed speakers:

Jens Dieckmann, Christopher Gosnell, Gregor Guy-Smith, Dragan Ivetić, Michael Karnavas, Xavier-Jean Keïta, Nina Kisić, Novak Lukić, Judge Howard Morrison, Judge Janet Nosworthy, Judge Alphons Orie, Fiana Reinhardt, Colleen Rohan, Héleyn Unac, Slobodan Zečević

Participation Fee: 35 Euros (including coffee breaks) for the general public,

20 Euros for ADC-ICTY members, students and unpaid interns.

Lunch is 15 Euros per person upon reservation.

Certificates for continuing legal education are available upon request.

For further information and to register please contact the ADC-ICTY Head Office at adcicty.events@gmail.com

Independent Report into the Proceedings of the International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh

ICT Bangladesh

The International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh

Last week, an independent report into the proceedings of the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) in Bangladesh was published. The comprehensive evidence-based report by Geoffrey Robertson QC is the first of its kind and concludes that the Tribunal’s proceedings fall seriously short of international standards.

Since its inception, the International Crimes Tribunal, which has passed a number of death sentences on opposition political leaders for crimes allegedly committed in the 1971 civil war in East Pakistan, has been the subject of significant criticism from both those who have appeared before it and numerous legal experts. All of whom have concluded that the ICT does not adhere to internationally recognised standards.

According to the 126-page report, the major concerns about the ICT are that the Tribunal lacks impartiality, it allows for the death penalty to be imposed without providing a higher standard of procedural safeguards, it permits trials in absentia and there are concerns about witness tampering and intimidation.

Further, the Tribunal appears to have no rules about admissibility of evidence: many of the convictions have been based on hearsay, and in effect, on guilt by association. The Tribunal does not provide the basic guarantees required by international human rights treaties; the rules about providing adequate time and facilities to prepare a defence have been consistently breached, and most notably, defendants are excluded from enjoying the constitutional protections available to all other Bangladeshi citizens. Continue reading

International Criminal Courts: Progress Made, Progress Needed

By Samuel Linehan

International Criminal Court

The International Criminal Court

On 29 October 2014, Chatham House and Doughty Street Chambers hosted the Sir Richard May Memorial Lecture. The speakers were Lord Justice Adrian Fulford and Judge Howard Morrison. The chair was Elizabeth Wilmshurst. The speakers discussed the major steps made in the trial of international crimes and addressed the challenges that still remain.

Sir Richard May was the first British judge at the ICTY, and as such the first British judge on an international criminal tribunal since the IMTs. He presided in Miloševi? and made a significant contribution to international criminal procedure as a member of the Rules Committee. His Memorial Trust aims to raise awareness of international humanitarian law by supporting interns from developing countries. So far it has sent more than 40 interns to the international criminal tribunals.

Lord Justice Fulford

Speaking on the theme of the evening, Judge Fulford was wary of the ‘miasma of legacy’ that surrounds such discussions. He spoke frankly on the fate of his ‘brainchildren,’ the Office of Public Counsel for Victims (‘OPCV’) and the Office of Public Counsel for Defence (‘OPCD’). In this connection he noted that castles built in the air tend to go up in smoke. His intention had been that these offices would provide professional and independent specialist in-house counsel and that self-employed counsel would be the backup option. The representation of victims and the accused is central to the ICC, which is at a crossroads. The outcome of the ReVision project to restructure the Registry (which includes these offices) is critical. Continue reading

STL Does Not Have Jurisdiction for Contempt Cases Against Legal Persons

Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Last week, the Contempt Judge Nicola Lettieri issued a Decision on a Motion Challenging the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s jurisdiction. The motion was submitted by the Defence for NEW TV S.A.L and Karma Hohamed Tahsin Al Khayat and questioned whether the Tribunal could hear cases of contempt and obstructions against the proper administration of justice by legal persons (i.e. corporate entities).

The Contempt Judge ruled that although the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) does not have jurisdiction to hear cases dealing with obstructions of justice against legal persons, it does retain jurisdiction to hear cases dealing with offences against the administration of justice against natural persons. This was held to be consistent not only with international case law, but also with Rule 60bis of the STL’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence.

Last year, information relating to confidential witnesses has been broadcasted in certain medias.

Following these events, the Registrar of the Tribunal appointed an amicus curiae. Based on reports by the amicus, the Contempt Judge concluded that there was prima facie evidence that justified proceedings for contempt.

Two journalists and two media organisations have been subsequently charged with contempt before the Tribunal.

New PhD Thesis – International Criminal Trials: A Normative Theory

Sergey Vasiliev PhdOn Friday 25 April 2014, Sergey Vasiliev was granted his PhD by the University of Amsterdam (UvA) cum laude. Dr Vasiliev’s doctorate is devoted to the trial in international criminal proceedings. It is now available in a book of extraordinary depth and quality, which is highly recommended.

Among the numerous works on international criminal procedure, there has been no study focusing on the international criminal trial as a socio-legal phenomenon and a phase of international criminal proceedings. The book seeks to cover this gap by systematically examining the nature and organization of trials conducted by the historical and contemporary international

and hybrid criminal tribunals from the Nuremberg Tribunal to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

The study posits international criminal trials as a distinct object of theoretical and legal inquiry. It combines the methodological, conceptual, comparative, and critical approaches to the subject-matter for the purpose of developing the normative theory of international criminal trials.

Kosovo Parliament Approves Creation of Special Court

Members of parliament take the oath during its first session in Pristina

Kosovo Parliament

Yesterday, the Kosovo parliament approved the creation of an EU-backed special court for serious abuses committed during and after the 1998-1999 Kosovo war. Parliament approved the special court by a vote of 82 to 22, with 2 abstentions.

The special court will adjudicate cases against individuals based on a 2010 report by Council of Europe rapporteur Dick Marty. The report accused some members of the ethnic Albanian insurgency, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), of abductions, beatings, summary executions, and in some cases, the forced removal of human organs on Albanian territory during and after the 1998-1999 Kosovo war. The report named some individuals currently in the Kosovo government, including Prime Minister Hashim Thaci.

Thaci, who was the political chief of the former Kosovo Liberation Army, has rejected the allegations as an attempt to tarnish KLA’s reputation.

The Marty report said most of the alleged crimes occurred after June 1999, when NATO’s bombing campaign forced Belgrade to end the war and withdraw Serb forces from Kosovo.

The special court will operate within the Kosovo justice system but, prosecutors and judges will be international. It will have one seat in Kosovo and another abroad, possibly in the Netherlands, which will deal with protected witnesses.

An estimated 10,000 people died during the 1998-99 war, the great majority of them being ethnic Albanians. About 1,700 people are still missing.