IBA Presents Code of Professional Conduct for Counsel Before the International Criminal Court

Today in The Hague, the International Bar Association (IBA) presented to the International Criminal Court (ICC) a Code of Practice for counsel appearing before the Court. The document was drawn up after a rigorous, year-long, consultative process following a request for the IBA to facilitate the drafting of a code.

The Code applies to all defence lawyers before the Court, with a recommendation that victims’ counsel, amicus curiae and state counsel also fall within its jurisdiction. Among its key recommendations, the IBA believes the Code should be given prevalence over the national code, or any other code, by which counsel at the ICC is bound.

The Code, coming one week after the appointment of the Judges for the ICC, is another significant step towards the realisation of a landmark in international justice and it will ensure that all counsel appearing before the ICC will be held to the same standards, an essential component of a fair trial’, says Mark Ellis, IBA Executive Director. ‘We believe the presence of the ICC will perform a valuable service to the global community, both by acting against and helping to deter those who would misuse their power.’

The IBA began the drafting process in January 2002 by assembling an Advisory Panel, made up of international experts. The panellists were experts from the fields of professional conduct and ethics, common and civil law traditions, and international criminal law.

The Advisory Panel’s draft Code was disseminated in May 2002 to hundreds of international bodies around the world. In addition, the Code was posted on the websites of both the IBA and the Coalition for an International Criminal Court, with presentations also being made at the ICC Preparatory Commission in July 2002. All these bodies were encouraged to submit written comments to ensure that the Code represents the views of the international legal community.

During the drafting and consultative process, four main areas of debate emerged (applicability, client issues, conflict of codes, and enforcement/misconduct) which formed the basis of discussions at a two-day IBA conference in November 2002. The document was amended to reflect the conclusions and re-circulated.

For a copy of the Code click here

For the Commentary on the Code click here


For further information please contact:

Fiona Paterson
Manager IBA Human Rights Institute
International Bar Association
271 Regent Street
London W1B 2AQ
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7629 1206
Fax: +44 (0)20 7409 0456
E-mail: Fiona.paterson@int-bar.org