New IBA report focusing on access to justice at hybrid tribunals launched at 17th ASP

A new report by the International Bar Association (IBA) International Criminal Court and International Criminal Law (ICC & ICL) Programme focuses on the important role of defence and victims’ counsel in ensuring fair trials and access to justice for victims at hybrid tribunals and specialised chambers. The report is being launched on Wednesday 5 December 2018 in The Hague, at a high-level side event to the 17th Session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP). The ASP is the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) management oversight and legislative body, composed of representatives of the states that have ratified or acceded to the Rome Statute, the treaty establishing the ICC.

Kate Orlovsky, Director of the IBA ICC & ICL Programme, commented: ‘The latest IBA ICL Perspectives report focuses on the renewed relevance of hybrid tribunals and specialised chambers for the adjudication of international crimes, and on what needs to be done to support effective legal representation at these institutions. From Cambodia to Uganda to The Hague, courts have faced different challenges and used various approaches to ensure the rights of the accused and to allow victims to participate. As more states and courts seek to hold trials for mass crimes, it is timely to look at how courts can best support fair trials and access to justice.

In the context of the renewed relevance of hybrid tribunals and specialised chambers for the adjudication of international crimes, the 94-page report Legal Representation, Fairness and Access to Justice in Hybrid Tribunals and Specialised Chambers examines: the structures and practices that have developed to support effective legal defence for both the accused and for victims, and what lessons have been learned; the sources of support for counsel; victim participation; and future considerations for legal representation at these institutions. The report draws lessons from established hybrids, including the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. It also examines mechanisms that combine domestic, regional and international components – as in the case of the Extraordinary African Chambers in Senegal and Uganda’s International Crimes Division – which are widely discussed as potential models for future institutions.

Further, the report aims to highlight the importance of fully planning for and resourcing legal representation for the accused, to ensure that a court can provide for that aspect of a fair trial, particularly in a context where fair trial rights may already be fragile, and to highlight how victims’ legal representation has become an indispensable component of trials for international crimes.

Participating in the discussion reflecting on the contributions of hybrid tribunals and specialised chambers in pursuing justice for international crimes will be state representatives: His Excellency Matthew E K Neuhaus, Ambassador of Australia to the Netherlands, His Excellency Christian Wenaweser, Ambassador of Liechtenstein to the United Nations, and Her Excellency Brându?a Predescu, Ambassador of Romania to the Netherlands.

Moreover, an interactive panel–audience discussion with a group of renowned experts in the legal field will be held with: Dr Fidelma Donlon, Registrar of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, Lily Andrea Rueda Guzmán, Magistrate for the Special Jurisdiction for Peace in Colombia, Peter Haynes QC, Lead Counsel for Victims at the STL and Lead Counsel for Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo at the ICC, and Sarah Kihika Kasande, Head of Office at the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) in Uganda.

Dr Mark Ellis, IBA Executive Director, said: ‘The IBA participates in the annual ASP to underline the crucial role of state support for the ICC. This year marks 20 years since states, in Rome, created the Court. We are honoured to join Australia, Liechtenstein and Romania to engage stakeholders in discussion about furthering the goals of the ICC. Hybrid tribunals and specialised chambers are key players in closing the impunity gap and supporting the rule of law, but their trials must also meet international standards of fairness.

The side event to discuss the report’s content is jointly organised by the IBA, the ICTJ and, at state level, Australia, Liechtenstein and Romania. It will take place on Wednesday 5 December 2018 at the World Forum, Churchillplein 10, 2517 JW Den Haag, Netherlands.


Notes to the Editor

  1. The report Legal Representation, Fairness and Access to Justice in Hybrid Tribunals and Specialised Chambers is available to download without charge from the IBA website at:
  2. About the IBA International Criminal Court and International Criminal Law (ICC & ICL) Programme
    The IBA commenced the ICC & ICL Programme in 2005. The Programme monitors issues related to fairness and equality of arms at the ICC and other Hague-based war crimes tribunals and encourages the legal community to engage with the work of these Courts. The Programme’s work includes thematic legal analysis of proceedings and ad hoc evaluations of legal, administrative and institutional issues that could potentially affect the rights of defendants, the impartiality of proceedings and the development of international justice.

    The Programme also acts as the interface between the Courts and the global legal community. As such, special focus is placed on monitoring emerging issues of particular relevance to lawyers and collaborating with key partners on specific activities to increase engagement of the legal community on ICC and ICL issues.

    Programme information is disseminated through regular reports, expert discussions, workshops and other events and expert legal analysis on issues relevant to its mandate.

    Based at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the IBA’s ICC & ICL Programme consults and interacts with Courts’ officials, civil society organisations, academics and international lawyers.
  3. The International Bar Association (IBA) – the global voice of the legal profession – established in 1947, is the world’s leading organisation of international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Through its global membership of individual lawyers, law firms, bar associations and law societies it influences the development of international law reform and shapes the future of the legal profession throughout the world.

    The IBA’s administrative office is in London, United Kingdom. Regional offices are located in: São Paulo, Brazil; Seoul, South Korea; and Washington DC, United States.

    The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), an autonomous and financially independent entity, works to promote, protect and enforce human rights under a just rule of law, and to preserve the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession worldwide.
  4. Twitter: @ibanews

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