A Bar for List Counsel is within reach – finally!

Last year during the Tenth Seminar of Counsel of the ICC & Training Program held in The Hague on 17, 18 and 19 October 2012, the List Counsel who attended overwhelmingly voted to establish an association or Bar exclusively for List Counsel.  The International Bar Association (“ICB”), which has been keen over the years to be the Bar for List Counsel, made a bid and lost.   The ICC in the past had made it clear that it would not recognize the ICB as the Bar representing List Counsel.  The ICB is effectively a Bar without boarders.  Its strength seems to also be its weakness – at least so it appears to the Registrar of the ICC.  In any event, the ICB will continue to be a major factor in assisting List Counsel, even if operating from outside the ICC.

After a few hastily organized meetings during last year’s seminar, a group of 15 or so members of List Counsel were selected to serve as an Executive Committee (“EC”).  Two members, Wang You Sando and Raymond M. Brown were selected as coordinators.  Over the past year, Sando and Raymond have been overseeing the drafting of a statute for an association.   Those on the EC have had an opportunity to comment on the draft.  It was hoped that the draft would be finalized and ready to be circulated to List Counsel and to the Registrar during this year’s Seminar of Counsel.  But, even before the seminar, a debate had begun as to what sort of entity List Counsel should form: An association, similar to the ADC-ICTY, or a Bar as in the French Civil Law system.

The debate continued here in The Hague among several members of the EC, resulting in a realization that the best way forward was to form a Bar that would be dedicated to and working within the ICC.  All List Counsel would be required to be members of the Bar. Such a Bar could only be formed if the Registrar explicitly supports it.  And, it might also require the blessings of the Assembly of State Parties (“ASP”).

During the Seminar, Sando and Raymond briefed List Counsel.  While some expressed impatience and frustration, others were genuinely appreciative of the efforts and supportive of the process going forward.  Some members of the ICB were vocal, arguing last years refrain.  Suffice it to say, the ICB was recognized by the EC as a positive force, casting a wide shadow.  It was reassured that the Bar, when formed, would be reaching out and assuredly would be collaborating with the ICB.

During one discussion when the issue of fees (taxing ourselves) came up, List Counsel were informed that by April the Bar will be formed.  A Constitution would be circulated for comments within a month, while discussions with the Registrar would begin in earnest as early as mid-November.  Over 2000 euro was collected as seed money; enough to at least pay for a Notary and the registration.  More contributions are expected once a bank account is opened.

With the decision to form a Bar and with the approval of the coordinators I began drafting a Constitution based on the draft that had already been prepared, the ADC-ICTY Constitution and some of the comments raised during the discussions.  The first draft was completed and passed on to Sando and Raymond on October 30, 2013.  More on the draft Constitution to follow.

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Author: Michael G. Karnavas

Michael 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.

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