This is the final post on my discussion of the attorney-client privilege and the crime-fraud exception raised in Prosecutor v. Bemba et al. (“Bemba”) before the International Criminal Court (“ICC”). In my first post, I set out the factual context of the case. In the second and third posts, I discussed the attorney-client privilege in national tribunals and international tribunals. In the fourth post, I gave an overview of the crime-fraud exception and a legal analysis of the issues arising from the Pre-Trial Chamber and Trial Chamber decisions relating to the ICC Office of the Prosecutor’s (“OTP”) request for a judicial order to obtain evidence. In my fifth post, I discussed the application of other types of evidentiary privileges at the international criminal tribunals. In this final post I will discuss the privileges and immunities accorded to those working at the international criminal tribunals, focusing primarily on the immunities afforded to Counsel. Continue reading “Attorney-Client Privilege – Part VI: So Just How Immunized Am I Before the International Tribunals?”
This is the fifth post in my series on the issue of attorney-client privilege in a contempt case in Prosecutor v. Bemba et al. (“Bemba”) at the International Criminal Court (“ICC”). In my first post, I set out the factual background to the case. In the second and third posts, I discussed the attorney-client privilege in national tribunals and international tribunals. Wrapping up my discussion of Bemba, in the fourth post, I gave an overview of the crime-fraud exception and an analysis of the legal issues arising from the Pre-Trial Chamber and Trial Chamber decisions relating to the ICC Office of the Prosecutor’s (“OTP”) request for a judicial order to obtain evidence.
One issue that arose in Bemba was whether privileged attorney-client communications could be used as admissible evidence. To elaborate on this question, it is useful to look at the application of other types of evidentiary privileges at the international criminal tribunals.
This blog post is just a sampling of other types of privileges at the international criminal tribunals. It does not list all types of possible privileges, but only gives some illustrative examples of how other privileges apply. Continue reading “Attorney-Client Privilege – Part V: Other Privileges in International Criminal Tribunals”
Geneva meeting: Defence Offices at the International Criminal Courts
On 22 and 23 October 2015, Michael G. Karnavas participated in the Third International Meeting of Defence Offices at the International Criminal Courts in Geneva, Switzerland.
During a Round Table session on the Overview of the issues faced by the defence before the international criminal courts, Karnavas addressed the lack of meaningful right to counsel in seeking post-conviction relief at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) which have phased into the Mechanism for International Tribunals (MICT). According to the MICT Registry, it will only grant legal aid for post-conviction issues in exceptional circumstances and only after a judicial order. Former Accused and convicted persons may engage pro bono Counsel to represent them before the MICT. The absence of an entitlement to legal assistance does not prevent the MICT from assisting convicted persons in obtaining Counsel to assist with post-conviction matters and the Registry is therefore currently establishing a list of pro bono Counsel. As Karnavas bluntly explained: If Defence Counsel want to work for free, MICT will let them, although MICT will not even promise to appoint that Counsel if there is an issue that warrants appointment. Ludicrous. Continue reading “Recent Events: Geneva meeting on Defence Offices at the International Criminal Courts; Skopje evidence training”
This post follows up on the discussion of the attorney-client privilege and the crime-fraud exception raised in Prosecutor v. Bemba et al. (“Bemba”) before the International Criminal Court (“ICC”). In my previous post, I presented an overview of the attorney-client privilege (otherwise known as “lawyer-client privilege” or “legal professional privilege”) in the international criminal tribunals. As previously discussed, one of the exceptions to the attorney-client privilege is the crime-fraud exception. This exception applies when communications are made in furtherance of a crime or fraud. In other words, the attorney-client privilege is not a shield to be used by either the attorney or the client to pursue or cover up criminal activity, including acts contributing to the obstruction or perversion of justice. The ICC Pre-Trial and Trial Chamber decisions in Bemba raise several questions concerning the scope of this exception. Before I get into those questions, let’s briefly review the history of the case. Continue reading “Attorney-Client Privilege — Part IV: The Crime-Fraud Exception”
The third post in this blog series discussing questions of attorney-client privilege raised in Prosecutor v. Bemba Gombo et al. (“Bemba”) will explore the contours of the attorney-client privilege used in international criminal tribunals. As discussed in my previous post, the attorney-client privilege is the oldest privilege for confidential communications firmly established in domestic legal systems. Its rationale is founded upon fundamental fair trial rights, primarily the freedom from self-incrimination and the right to communicate freely with Counsel. This privilege – which is not absolute – does not cover all communications between the lawyer and client. Continue reading “Attorney-Client Privilege – Part III: International Tribunals”
In my previous post, I explained why I filed a request for leave to file an amicus brief in Prosecutor v. Bemba Gombo et al. (“Bemba”) at the ICC, and provided the factual context of the case relevant to the issue of attorney-client privilege communications. In Bemba, the Trial Chamber ordered several communications between Counsel, the client, the case-manager, and others to be transmitted to the Office of the Prosecutor (“OTP”) and other parties. Thus, several issues surfaced. What is the scope of the attorney-client privilege? What types of communications does it cover? Who does it cover? As this privilege has its foundations in national systems, before addressing the overarching issue of attorney-client privilege before international tribunals and specifically the ICC, a brief discussion of its basic principles in national jurisprudence may be helpful. This post will provide a historical background of the attorney-client privilege, its parameters, and its exceptions in national jurisdictions. The intent is to provide the basic principles with some illustrative examples, as opposed to an extensive exegesis with an exhaustive list of relevant jurisprudence. Continue reading “Attorney-Client Privilege – Part II: Foundation in National Systems”
Recently I filed a request for leave to file an amicus brief in the Bemba Gombo et al. case at the ICC. Decisions by the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber and Trial Chamber have raised the issues of when the attorney-client privilege can be lifted and the use of communications between an attorney and a client. As these issues affect all List Counsel at the ICC, and perhaps beyond, this is precisely the type of matter in which a Bar Association for List Counsel (“ICCBA”) may seek to intervene. There being no association to take on the matter, and with the working group drafting the constitution for the ICCBA having no mandate to seek leave to file an amicus brief, I decided to step up to a request made by one of the defence counsel. Continue reading “Attorney-Client Privilege and the Crime-Fraud Exception — Part I”
Last December I had the privilege of being invited to participate at a conference hosted by the International Research and Documentation Centre War Crimes Trials, in Marburg, Germany. The conference, titled The Defence in International Criminal Courts, was by far the best conference I have ever attended, focusing on defence issues from Nuremberg and onwards. The presentations and discussions were excellent. Here is an excerpt of my presentation. The full version is scheduled for publication.
Hybrid Courts: a marriage of inconvenience
Michael G. Karnavas
Imagine being on the football pitch. The stakes are high – it’s a championship game. You and your teammates have been preparing for this game, sharpening your skills, studying your opponent, developing your game plan, mastering the intricacies of the rules, doing everything possible to take advantage of every opportunity that may present itself and every weakness that your opponent may have. All is riding on this game, so you have thought of everything. You are ready. You are ready to control the ball, control your opponent, control the slightest openings. Ready to control it all. All except the referee. That’s the wildcard. The unknown, the unpredictable, the uncontrollable. The luck of the draw. If the referee knows the rules and applies the rules as they are intended, then you have only yourself to blame if the game is lost. But what if the referee does not follow the rules or applies them unevenly, or interprets them in a manner that is not in keeping with the spirit and tradition of the game? What if the referee decides to also play with the ball, handle it a bit, kick it around, pass it to your opponents, or, worse yet, lay in wait near your goalpost for the opportune moment to tap the ball into your net (even if it takes using his hands) and, having done so, smugly signals the goal? Continue reading “Hybrid Courts: a marriage of inconvenience”
On 16-17 July 2015, Dr Fabián O. Raimondo, Assistant Professor of Public International Law, Maastricht University, is hosting a Seminar directed exclusively to ICC List Counsel. The program is topical, relevant and practical.
Moreover, the Registrar will not only present his proposal for restructuring the Registry under the ReVision project, but will also engage the participants in what promises to be a lively discussion on many of the issues related to his vision and expectations on restructuring two of the most critical sections deemed by many List Counsel as essential in their representation of their clients: the OPCD and OPCV. See my prior post on Establishment of a Victims and Defence Office at the ICC. Continue reading “Upcoming Seminar concerning ICC List Counsel – 16-17 July 2015”
THE USE OF TORTURE-TAINTED EVIDENCE AT THE ECCC: What is the applicable standard for assessing whether a statement is established as being made under torture and what are the parameters, if any, for the admissibility of torture tainted evidence?
The issue of the admissibility and permissible uses of evidence obtained through torture has arisen repeatedly at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) in Cases 001 and 002, due to the fact that there is a large body of material before the ECCC Court emanating from the notorious security center S-21 (also known as Tuol Sleng) and other alleged security centers around Cambodia.
Recently the issue has come up again, after the Trial Chamber prohibited the Nuon Chea Defence in Case 002/02 from questioning a witness on the contents of a confession. The Nuon Chea Defence asserted that the Trial Chamber was using a double standard, allowing the Prosecution to ask questions concerning confessions, but not the Defence. The Prosecution requested to file written submissions and to have oral arguments on the issue. The Trial Chamber agreed and the parties’ submissions were received 21 May 2015. Oral arguments occurred 25 May 2015. Continue reading “THE USE OF TORTURE-TAINTED EVIDENCE AT THE ECCC”