In my last post, I addressed the applicability of JCE III, arguing that as a product of judicial creation, JCE III does not exist in customary international law and should not be applied. This post is a follow up in light of the 30 January 2015 ICTY Appeals Chamber Judgement in the Srebrenica case, Prosecutor v. Popović et al., affirming the convictions for genocide.1Prosecutor v. Popović et al., IT-05-88-A, Judgement, 30 January 2015, paras. 1670-1674.
One of the Popović Accused, Miletić, had argued that the Trial Chamber erred in law in holding that JCE III existed in customary international law at the time of the events.2Prosecutor v. Popović et al., IT-05-88-A, Judgement, 30 January 2015, para. 1670. He emphasized that the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia’s (“ECCC”) rejection of JCE III shows that it is not generally accepted and that its application is contrary to the nullum crimen sine lege principle.
Unfortunately, the Popović Appeals Judgement missed an exquisite opportunity to rectify the long-perpetuated error of law first made by the Tadić Appeals Chamber, which found that JCE existed in customary international law. Rather than engage in a constructive analysis, the Popović Appeals Chamber merely referred to its previous jurisprudence and found that Miletić failed to demonstrate any cogent reason to depart from it.3Prosecutor v. Popović et al., IT-05-88-A, Judgement, 30 January 2015, para. 1674. This has been the problem from the outset. No ICTY Chamber has been willing to thoroughly analyze the state of customary international law; instead they choose to refer back to prior Judgements as if these Judgements themselves are evidence of JCE’s customary status. Continue reading “POPOVIĆ APPEAL CHAMBER REFUSES TO REVIEW JCE III APPLICABILITY”
Having 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”
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).
“‘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).
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.
This is the eighth, and final installment, in a series of posts drawn from a 24 January 2014 lecture on Judicial Ethics at the ADC-ICTY’s Twelfth Defence Symposium for interns and staff at the ICTY. The complete document is available on my website.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
H. The Obligations of Defence Counsel in exercising due diligence
Lastly, I discussed obligations that also lie with Defence counsel. Indeed, Defence counsel have to be diligent to raise disqualifications early in the proceedings and to the right authority. I put the accent on how important is to make the record. I used the Čelebići case as an example in which the issue was whether a Judge was fit to be a Judge.
ICTY Prosecutor v. Delalić et al. (Čelebići), The Case of the sleeping Judge, and the Defence’s failure to raise
In Čelebići, Judge Karibi-Whyte was sleeping during substantial portions the trial proceedings. Defence counsel for Landžo did not formally raise this issue before the Trial Chamber but filed this issue as a ground of appeal. Counsel for Landžo explained the failure to raise this issue during trial proceedings stating that she had approached “this sensitive issue in the most diplomatic way possible.” Indeed, Counsel for Landžo had first raised the issue with the Registrar and President of the ICTY Judge Cassese rather than in court: Continue reading “Eighth and Final Installment: JUDICIAL ETHICS IN THE INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNALS”
Following the discussion on judges, I then moved on to discuss instances bias raised concerning judicial staff. The question is whether Chamber’s staff members are subjected to the same rules as Judges and therefore subject to disqualification. The answer is no, Rule 15(A) ICTY Rules of Procedure and Evidence (RPE) applies only to Judges. Noteworthy, there is no explicit code of conduct for Chambers or Prosecution staff members even though they carry out highly sensitive functions and, in many instances, are, or are presumed to be, agents of the judges and prosecutors whom they serve. Presumably, under their contractual obligations they are to conduct themselves in an ethical manner, though query whether that is enough.
ICTY Case Against Senior Legal Officer Florence Hartmann
In the Hartmann case before the ICTY, in which a Senior Legal Officer allegedly had ex parte communications with the amicus curiae—who was acting on behalf of the Prosecutor—regarding the provision of confidential materials to the Defence.
Next, I discussed a Judge’s ethical obligation to disclose. Judges must disclose facts that may affect (or perceive to affect) their impartiality; facts that could lead a reasonable, informed observer to objectively apprehend bias.
ICTR Prosecutor v. Karemera, Disqualification of Judge Vaz
In the ICTR case Karemera, the Defence requested that Judge Vaz recuse herself because of her alleged cohabitation with Ms. Dior Fall, one of the trial attorneys for the prosecution during the case. Although Judge Vaz ultimately withdrew, the Appeals Chamber noted the improper conduct and held that the Judge should have disclosed the facts of her accommodation prior to the Defence’s objection: Continue reading “Fifth Installment: JUDICIAL ETHICS IN THE INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNALS”
III. APPLICATION OF THE Furundžija PRINCIPLE—SITUATIONS OF BIAS
A. Ex parte Communications
ECCC Case 002, Ieng Sary’s motion to Disqualify Judge Silvia Cartwright
I first discussed the issue of ex parte communications on the part of the judge, which in most cases, is to the detriment to the Defence. I chose an example from the ECCC, where the Defence learned that one of the sitting Judges, Judge Silvia Cartwright, was participating in meetings with the International Co-Prosecutor Andrew Cayley and the ECCC Deputy Director of Administration. No one from any of the Defence teams were invited and neither was the head of the ECCC Defence Support Section (DSS). Obviously, these meetings were of concern to the Defence once they were learned about. They certainly amounted to ex parte communications. But as I noted earlier, when in doubt or not in possession of sufficient information showing bias, best to move incrementally. So, after all sorts of efforts to get the participants to these private meetings to come clean, the Defence filed a request for investigation into these ex parte communications. The Trial Chamber declined to investigate, justifying the meetings as necessary for the coordination of the UN component of the ECCC. Having no choice, the Defence appealed, seeking Judge Cartwright’s disqualification on the grounds that the meetings had no express legal basis. Since Prosecutor Cayley would continue to appear before Judge Cartwright, these ex parte communications violated applicable ethics standards.Continue reading “Fourth Installment: JUDICIAL ETHICS IN THE INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNALS”
Havingdiscussed Harhoff in some detail (an entire day can be spent analyzing all the nuances of this matter), I segued into what I referred to as the Sow dilemma: what can and should a judge do when — rightly or wrongly — he or she is confronted with a perceived act of injustice in the making by fellow judges in a case in which he or she is sitting.
Judge Malik Sow, in an unusual and dramatic fashion, effectively accused his brethren in the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) Charles Taylor case, in which he was an alternate judge, of not properly engaging in serious deliberations in the case. After the summary of the judgement was read, quite unexpectedly, Judge Sow proceeded to criticize the deliberative process in Taylor, casting a shadow of bias on his fellow judges and calling into question the integrity of the SCSL: Continue reading “Third Installment: JUDICIAL ETHICS IN THE INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNALS”