Karnavas delivers ethics keynote in The Hague

imageOn November 8, 2014, the Association of Defence Counsel Practising Before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ADC-ICTY) held an ethics training in The Hague, The Netherlands.  Program attendees included ADC-ICTY members, interns and staff, as well as defence team members from the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), staff of the ICTY/ICTR/MICT Registry, Prosecution and Chambers, and students from various universities around The Hague.  The Keynote address, which appears below, was delivered by Michael Karnavas. Continue reading “Karnavas delivers ethics keynote in The Hague”

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Karnavas critiques DeFalco article on “most responsible” at the ECCC

The ECCC has jurisdiction over “senior leaders of Democratic Kampuchea and those who were most responsible” for certain crimes within the ECCC’s jurisdiction. 1Agreement Between the United Nations and the Royal Government of Cambodia Concerning the Prosecution under Cambodian Law of Crimes Committed During the Period of Democratic Kampuchea, 6 June 2003, Preamble. Randle DeFalco’s article Cases 003 and 004 at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal: The Definition of “Most Responsible” Individuals According to International Criminal Law, concludes that the suspects in Cases 003 and 004 fall within the meaning of “most responsible” and that the only legally sound option is to bring the cases to trial.

According to Michael G. Karnavas:

DeFalco’s analysis is result-determinative and based on the premise that if the suspects are not found “most responsible” there will be no other trials and the suspects would escape criminal responsibility. Although DeFalco’s basic approach to determine the meaning of “most responsible” is sensible, through his analysis he commits several errors that lead him to his pre-determined conclusion. DeFalco’s conclusions are unsurprising when considering his association with Documentation Center of Cambodia (“DC-Cam”) and interest in verifying its pre-determined conclusion that genocide and crimes against humanity occurred in Cambodia.

Click here to read Karnavas’ full critique of DeFalco’s arguments, which has been submitted to DC-CAM for publication.

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Footnotes   [ + ]

ICC Registrar supports establishment of an Association for List Counsel

For several years there have been talks and initiatives by members of the ICC List Counsel to establish a Bar or an Association. Indeed, in the last couple of years we have seen a growing interest, if not impatience, for a Bar or Association.

Last year I circulated a draft Constitution for an ICC Bar for List Counsel (click language choice to see draft in English or French)  based in part on an earlier initiative and inspired by the ADC-ICTY model. I also circulated a modest commentary. But as in the past, the momentum and enthusiasm waned with the passage of time.

Then, out of the blue, the ICC Registrar, Herman von Hebel, sent an outline of proposals to be discussed during a meeting with List Counsel held on 16 September, wherein he expressed an interest in the establishment of an Association by, for and of List Counsel, that would be officially recognized by the ICC. Just what many of us have been advocating since as far back as 2007.

iron-2So the biggest hurdle – that of convincing the Registrar to recognize a Bar or Association for ICC List Counsel – has been removed. Time to move forward, and move swiftly. And here is why. Continue reading “ICC Registrar supports establishment of an Association for List Counsel”

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Associated Press quotes Karnavas on eve of Khmer Rouge verdict


photogallery6-michael-courtroom-18-jul-12-3On the eve of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Trial Chamber’s pronouncement of the judgement in Case 002/01 against KHIEU Samphan and NUON Chea, the Associated Press asked experts, including Michael Karnavas, to discuss the significance of the trial.

Read the story:  With verdicts due, experts explain importance of trial of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge leaders

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The Diligence That Is Due – Part II: How to Make the Record

How to Make the Record

RecordHaving elaborated on the importance of perfecting the record, and having the standards of appellate review in mind, I began to discuss in detail how to perfect the record. Counsel needs to see clearly how the case may unfold in each step of the proceedings, from the pre-trial stage to appeal stage. Cases are organic. Everything that is done at the pre-trial and trial stages may eventually be relevant on appeal. Even at the pre-trial stage, Counsel should be able to see far ahead what sorts of challenges he or she may raise at each stage, reopen at a later stage and bring on appeal. Conversely, on appeal Counsel is limited to whatever is already in the record unless there is a mechanism to adduce additional evidence such as Rule 115 of the ICTY Rules of Procedure and Evidence (ICTY RPE). Counsel ought to be aware of all options and mechanisms at each stage. This means being diligent in investigating the case, skilfully challenging all legal and factual issues through written submissions that fully preserve all errors, making and meeting oral objections during the proceedings, and putting on a case (which can be done strictly through confronting the prosecution case) that has a consistent, plausible, and well-developed theory. Continue reading “The Diligence That Is Due – Part II: How to Make the Record”

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The Diligence That Is Due: Making the Record & Perfecting Grounds for Appeal

While we do not believe the trial judge testified untruthfully, we recognize that the written word in the record is ‘black and white’ evidence of what did or did not occur, whereas an individual’s recollection of those same events blur into gray. This case demonstrates the validity of an old legal truism: God may know but the record must show.

Jones v. Vacco, 126 F.3d 408, 417 (2d Cir. 1997) (emphasis added).

Karnavas_ADCTraining_18Jun14_4On 18 June 2014, I delivered the third installment of a lecture series on ethics to members of the Association of Defence Counsel Practicing before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ADC-ICTY) and others. The previous lectures were on Judicial Ethics in the International Tribunals and Conflicts of Interest. This lecture focused on due diligence and the imperative of perfecting the record by properly preserving all potential errors for appellate review. The lecture lasted 2 hours. Certificates were issued to the participants for those who wished to claim 2 hours of CLE credits on ethics with their national / state bar. Continue reading “The Diligence That Is Due: Making the Record & Perfecting Grounds for Appeal”

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Karnavas files ECCC Amicus on Geneva Conventions Statute of Limitations

geneva-convention_1864
First Geneva Convention – 1864

On 14 May 2014 Michael G. Karnavas and Co-Lawyer ANG Udom filed an Amicus Curiae Brief urging that the ECCC is unable to exercise subject matter jurisdiction over grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions because those crimes are subject to a 10-year statute of limitation, which has expired for crimes committed from 1975-79.  Read the brief here.

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ADC-ICTY LECTURE ON CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

“‘Conflict of interests’ is a term that is often used and seldom defined.”  1Cuyler v. Sullivan, 446 U.S. 335, 356 (1980) (United States Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, dissenting).

Michael Karnavas delivers ADC-ICTY Confilcts Lecture
Michael Karnavas delivers ADC-ICTY Confilcts Lecture

On 16 April 2014 I was invited by the Association of Defence Counsel practicing before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ADC-ICTY) to conduct training for its members and others on ethics. The topic chosen was Conflicts of Interest. The lecture lasted 2 hours. A modest PowerPoint presentation was used to guide the lecture which was based on handout material made available after the lecture. Certificates were also issued to the participants for those who wished to claim 2 hours of CLE on ethics with their national / state bar.

The lecture focused on the lawyer’s core responsibilities to the client in both national and international jurisdictions: competence, diligence, communication, confidentiality, loyalty, honesty, and independence. Principles that are universal.

Continue reading “ADC-ICTY LECTURE ON CONFLICTS OF INTEREST”

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Footnotes   [ + ]

Just How Relevant is the ICC – Part VII and Conclusion

This multi-part blog post is drawn from Michael G. Karnavas’s Lecture at the Brown University International Organization (BRIO) February 26, 2014.  The complete piece is available on Michael’s website.

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h. Syria

Bashar Al Assad
Bashar Al-Assad

Finally, it was time to focus on Syria: what are the realistic prospects of Bashar Al-Assad and others being prosecuted at the ICC?  Recalling how a case comes before the ICC, I noted that it was highly unlikely that Assad or others would end up at The Hague any time soon, if at all.  Syria has not signed on to the Rome Statute.[1]  This Syrian government is not about to agree to ICC jurisdiction.  Assuming the Assad regime falls, the next government would be poised to ask the ICC to investigate and prosecute, but given that all sides to the conflict seem to be committing mass atrocities, it does call into question whether there would be a genuine desire to get the ICC involved.  The Security Council is unlikely to refer the matter to the ICC Prosecutor, when it cannot even agree on the need to intervene for humanitarian reasons.[2]  But hope springs eternal.  Theoretically, nothing can be precluded. Continue reading “Just How Relevant is the ICC – Part VII and Conclusion”

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Just How Relevant is the ICC – Part VI

This multi-part blog post is drawn from Michael G. Karnavas’s Lecture at the Brown University International Organization (BRIO) February 26, 2014.  The complete piece is available on Michael’s website.

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g. Kenya and Africa

My next vignette dealt with the Kenya case and the African Union (AU)’s reaction to the ICC, focusing exclusively on Africa, and in particular, the ICC efforts to prosecute sitting Heads of State.  Kenya has had a long history of election violence.[1]  On 30 December 2007, following the announcement of the Kenyan election results, large-scale political violence broke out amid claims that the electoral commission of Kenya had rigged the elections in favor of incumbent Mwai Kibaki.[2]  Two months of bloodshed between the two rival coalitions (Ralia Odigna’s Orange Democratic Movement [“ODP”] and Mwai Kibaki’s Government/Party for National Unity [“PNU”]) left an estimated 1,000 people dead, and as many as 500,000 internally displaced persons.[3]  In the midst of the violence, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan received a call from President Kufor of Ghana, then Chairman of the AU, asking Kofi Annan to mediate the crisis in Kenya.[4]  Kofi Annan led the Panel of African Eminent Personalities through 41 days of mediation and the political violence ended upon the two parties signing a peace agreement: The Agreement on the Principles of Partnership of the Coalition Government.[5]  On 4 March 2008, the parties agreed to form two fact-finding commissions: the Independent Review Committee and the Commission of Inquiry on Post-Election Violence (CIPEV).[6]  The CIPEV made a number of recommendations to the government, and findings were presented to Kofi Annan, the appointing authority for the commission.[7] The CIPEV recommended investigation, and eventual prosecution of certain persons alleged to have masterminded the violence and recommended that a Special Tribunal adjudicate serious crimes: particularly, crimes against humanity.[8]  sealed-envelopeThe names were placed in a secret envelope and were kept with the Panel led by Kofi Annan and pending the establishment of a Special Tribunal.[9]  If the government failed to establish the Tribunal, the Panel would forward the names of the perpetrators to the ICC.[10]  The Kenyan parliament failed—due to political stalemate[11]—to establish the Tribunal and Kofi Annan handed over the sealed envelope to the ICC Chief Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo.[12]

Continue reading “Just How Relevant is the ICC – Part VI”

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