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About Michael G. Karnavas

photogallery6-michael-courtroom-18-jul-12-3Michael G. Karnavas is an American trained lawyer. He is licensed in Alaska and Massachusetts and is qualified to appear before the various international tribunals, including the International Criminal Court (ICC). Residing and practicing primarily in The Hague, he is recognized as an expert in international criminal defence, including, pre-trial, trial, and appellate advocacy.  Click here to visit Michael’s web site.

Michael G. Karnavas lectures students at the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies on the role of defence counsel:

 

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News and Events

  • On 24 February 2017, the Edward Elgar Publishing published a chapter co-authored by Kate Gibson, John RWD Jones QC, Michael G. Karnavas and Melinda Taylor, titled Regulation of the International Bar: The Particular Challenges for Defence Counsel at the International Criminal Courts and Tribunalsin Research Handbook on International Courts and Tribunals (William A. Schabas and Shannonbrooke Murphy eds., 2017). This chapter examines and evaluates the different structures (independent, internal and external) protecting and regulating the defence profession at the various international and mixed criminal courts and tribunals, and identifies defects and lacunae in the current infrastructure.
  • In November-December 2016, Michael G. Karnavas was selected by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Mission to Serbia as the International Consultant to make an assessment and submit a report with specific proposals for reform and improvement of the institutional and regulatory framework of the Attorney’s Academy (Academy) of the Bar Association of Serbia (BAS), and to recommend a detailed program for the organization of the training activities and a strategic plan for a long term (2-3 years) Continuing Legal Education program.  The BAS is a national “umbrella” bar for eight regional bars with approx. 8000 members. The BAS established the Academy in 2013 for the purpose of providing professional training for Serbian lawyers and trainees.  As part of the assessment, Mr. Karnavas went on two field visits (5-7 December and 18-21 December 2016) to conduct a series of interviews with the representatives of the BAS, the Ministry of Justice, the Judicial Academy, civil societies, and NGOs. Mr. Karnavas submitted a preliminary report 29 December 2016.

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Kosovo Specialist Chambers – Part 6: The Rules of Procedure and Evidence (The Proceedings)

This is the sixth post in my series on the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (“KSC”), a hybrid internationalized set of chambers founded to try war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other crimes under Kosovo law committed during the aftermath of the conflict in Kosovo (1998-2000).

In my previous post, I discussed the Rules of Procedure and Evidence (“RPE”) governing investigations, arrests, and detention. In this post, I focus on the proceedings from pre-trial to appeal. While the KSC’s procedure is similar to that of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (“ICTY”), it also cherry picks here and there some of the more civil law modalities from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (“ICC”). Continue reading “Kosovo Specialist Chambers – Part 6: The Rules of Procedure and Evidence (The Proceedings)”

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Registrar Hosts Consultations on the ICC’s Legal Aid Scheme: so what!?

On 19 June 2016 the Registry of the International Criminal Court (“ICC”) hosted a full day consultation seminar on the ICC’s Legal Aid Scheme (“LAS”). The seminar followed the publication of two expert reports by the International Justice Consortium (“ICJC”) and Richard J. Rogers (the ICJC report is annexed to Rogers’ report), which I commented on in a previous post. The point of the seminar was for relevant stakeholders – ICC List Counsel, Counsel from other international(ized) criminal tribunals and courts, and organizations such as the International Criminal Court Bar Association (“ICCBA”) and the Association of Defence Counsel practising before the International Courts and Tribunals (“ADC”) – to exchange views with the Registrar on refashioning the LAS. Continue reading “Registrar Hosts Consultations on the ICC’s Legal Aid Scheme: so what!?”

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Kosovo Specialist Chambers – Part 5: The Rules of Procedure and Evidence (Investigations and Arrest and Detention)

This is the fifth post in my series on the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (“KSC”), a hybrid internationalized set of chambers founded to try war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other crimes under Kosovo law committed during the aftermath of the conflict in Kosovo (1998-2000). In the previous post, I discussed general and structural matters regulated by the Rules of Procedure and Evidence (“RPE”). In this post, I will focus on investigations, arrests, and detention matters. Continue reading “Kosovo Specialist Chambers – Part 5: The Rules of Procedure and Evidence (Investigations and Arrest and Detention)”

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Kosovo Specialist Chambers – Part 4: The Rules of Procedure and Evidence, General and Structural Matters

This is the fourth post in my series on the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (“KSC”), a hybrid internationalized set of chambers founded to try war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other crimes under Kosovo law committed during the aftermath of the conflict in Kosovo (1998-2000). In the first post, I provided the context and events leading up to the establishment of the KSC. In the second and third posts, I provided my observations on the Law on Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office (“KSC Statute”). In this post, and in the following posts, I focus on the Rules of Procedure and Evidence (“RPE”). Continue reading “Kosovo Specialist Chambers – Part 4: The Rules of Procedure and Evidence, General and Structural Matters”

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Kosovo Specialist Chambers – Part 3: Peculiar Features of the Statute

This is the third post in my series on the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (“KSC”), a hybrid internationalized set of chambers set up to try grave transboundary and international crimes committed during the aftermath of the war in Kosovo.

In my previous post, I focused on some of the fundamentals of the Law on Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office (“KSC Statute”), including the general structure of the tribunal, the composition of the chambers, and the jurisdiction and applicable law of the KSC. In this post, I focus on some of the peculiar features of the KSC Statute. I will not be providing a full article-by-article analysis of the KSC Statute. Rather, I will merely highlight some of the more interesting provisions – especially those not found in the statutes of the other international(ized) tribunals and courts – without getting too far into the weeds. Specifically, I will address: venue, amnesties, the rights of the accused, the appointment and assignment of Judges, the powers and responsibilities of the Specialist Prosecutor, detention and arrest matters, the Court of Appeals Panel’s power to enter convictions on alternative modes of liability, and extraordinary legal remedies. To avoid redundancy, some aspects of the KSC Statute I would normally discuss here will be discussed in the next set of posts dealing with the KSC Rules of Procedure and Evidence (“RPE”). Continue reading “Kosovo Specialist Chambers – Part 3: Peculiar Features of the Statute”

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Kosovo Specialist Chambers – Part 2: Fundamentals of the KSC Statute

In my previous post, I discussed the events leading up to and reasons for the establishment of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (“KSC”): a hybrid internationalized set of chambers, located in The Hague and staffed by international judges and prosecutors, with a Registry staffed by international legal and administrative officers and personnel. As “specialist chambers” within the Kosovo justice system, the KSC is mandated to try grave trans-boundary and international crimes committed during the aftermath of the war in Kosovo, reported in a 2011 Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Report and investigated by a Special Investigative Task Force. In this post, I discuss the fundamentals of the Law on Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office (“KSC Statute”) – the general structure, composition of the chambers, jurisdiction, and applicable law of the KSC. Continue reading “Kosovo Specialist Chambers – Part 2: Fundamentals of the KSC Statute”

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The Cambodia Daily – Opinion: Violent Threats Could Spur ICC Investigation

On May 29, 2017, The Cambodia Daily published an opinion piece by Michael G. Karnavas.  The piece appears below:

The Cambodia Daily

Opinion: Violent Threats Could Spur ICC Investigation

by Michael G. Karnavas1   Michael G. Karnavas is a criminal defense lawyer. He was the co-lawyer for Ieng Sary at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, and is now Meas Muth’s international co-lawyer in Case 003 at the ECCC.

The Cambodia Daily reported last Friday that Prime Minister Hun Sen gave a speech to 4,000 faithful of Cambodia’s Christian Community on Phnom Penh’s Koh Pich island.

He claimed that only a Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) win in the upcoming elections will ensure peace and development in Cambodia. Mr. Hun Sen then expressed his willingness to “eliminate 100 or 200 people” if the opposition were to take any actions that would lead to the “overthrow” of the CPP. Continue reading “The Cambodia Daily – Opinion: Violent Threats Could Spur ICC Investigation”

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Footnotes   [ + ]

Kosovo Specialist Chambers – Part 1: its Statute and Rules of Procedure and Evidence in a nutshell

A new internationalized tribunal, the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (“KSC”), is poised to open its doors for business: indicting, arresting, prosecuting and so on. The KSC was established to try crimes against humanity, war crimes, and other crimes under Kosovo law committed by persons of Kosovo/Yugoslav citizenship or against persons of Kosovo/Yugoslav citizenship between January 1, 1998 and December 31, 2000 in the territory of Kosovo.1   See Law on Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office, Arts. 6-9, 13-15. Though located in The Hague, the KSC is a specialized chamber within the Kosovo Judiciary, much like the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (“ECCC”) which is an extraordinary chamber within the Cambodian judiciary.2   “Unlike the other United Nations and United Nations-assisted tribunals, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia forms part of the national court structure. It is a Cambodian national court, based on the French civil law system, with special jurisdiction, and with United Nations participation. It is an example of a special chamber within a national jurisdiction…. [It] is a national court of Cambodia.” United Nations Security Council, Report of the Secretary-General on possible options to further the aim of prosecuting and imprisoning persons responsible for acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, including, in particular, options for creating special domestic chambers possibly with international components, a regional tribunal or an international tribunal and corresponding imprisonment arrangements, taking into account the work of the Contact Group on Piracy of the Coast of Somalia, the existing practice in establishing international and mixed tribunals, and the time and resources necessary to achieve and sustain substantive results, U.N. Doc. S/2010/394, 26 July 2010, pp. 42-43. The KSC is hybrid in that it has common law and civil law modalities, applying both Kosovo law and international law.   Continue reading “Kosovo Specialist Chambers – Part 1: its Statute and Rules of Procedure and Evidence in a nutshell”

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Footnotes   [ + ]

Opinion: Due Process Not Negotiable, Even in Khmer Rouge Tribunal

On May 15, 2017, The Cambodia Daily published an opinion piece by Michael G. Karnavas.  The piece appears below:

The Cambodia Daily

Opinion: Due Process Not Negotiable, Even in Khmer Rouge Tribunal

MAY 15, 2017

By Michael G. Karnavas 1   Michael G. Karnavas is a criminal defense lawyer. He was the co-lawyer for Ieng Sary at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, and is now Meas Muth’s international co-lawyer in Case 003 at the ECCC.

Last week it was revealed that the Co-Investigating Judges (CIJ) of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) confidentially informed the parties in Cases 003, 004, and 004/02 and the Office of Administration that they were considering invoking what amounts to a nuclear option: a permanent stay of the proceedings due to a lack of funding. Submissions were invited.

Court-watchers and “experts” immediately weighed in with claims of political interference. Judge Martin Karopkin, a reserve Judge of the Trial Chamber, joined the fray. Disquieting as his remarks may be, I admire Judge Karopkin’s honesty. Continue reading “Opinion: Due Process Not Negotiable, Even in Khmer Rouge Tribunal”

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Book Review — A WORLD IN DISARRAY: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order.

Book Review

A WORLD IN DISARRAY: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order. By Richard Haass. 330 pages. Penguin Press, 2017. $28.00.

“There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.” John F. Kennedy, US President1   Speech delivered at Americans for Democratic Action convention, Washington, DC, 12 May 1961, quoted in “Times Call for Liberal Actions, Says Kennedy,” Lodi (CA) News-Sentinel, 13 May 1961.

Richard Haass

There is a reason why Richard Haass is serving a fourteenth term as President of the highly regarded, independent, nonpartisan US think tank the Council on Foreign Relations. It comes across when reading his latest book, A World in Disarray. His historical and political analysis is lucid and nuanced, offering thought-provoking advice on dealing with the most pressing events of our time. US President Donald Trump would be well advised to read this book and take heed of Haass’s views. Continue reading “Book Review — A WORLD IN DISARRAY: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order.”

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