Michael G. Karnavas

Michael G. Karnavas International Criminal Defence Lawyer

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.

Practice Areas

“The results at the end of a trial will be meaningless unless a robust defense is afforded to the accused”

Michael G. Karnavas

Michael G. Karnavas was commissioned by the Documentation Center of Cambodia (“DC-Cam”), funded by USAID, to examine and propose healthcare as a means of reparation’s to victims of the Khmer Rouge. His paper was published 11 May 2022.

A universal value is stymied by particularistic thinking. It is a matter of experience that in all societies torn by violence – but indeed even in societies at large – persons are unable to think in a reciprocal and equal way under the polar star of the Kantian imperative. On the contrary.

In a well-crafted public relations message, ICC Prosecutor Karim A. A. Khan QC keeps hope alive for the Afghan victims of Article 5 crimes and atrocities suffered over the past twenty years. What a relief. Hooray!

News and Events

  • On 15 June 2022, Michael G. Karnavas took part as co-panelist in an online panel-discussion organized by the Oxford Society for International Development (OxSID) and spoke about human rights and his career trajectory in international development. The discussion focused on the International Criminal Court (ICC) and whether it is a viable path for justice.
  • On 14 June 2022, Michael G. Karnavas took part in the D2D roundtable organized by the Office of Public Counsel for the Defence (OPCD) at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The topic of the discussion was how best to address and challenge bias against the defense in international(ized) criminal courts and tribunals.
  • On 24 May 2022, Michael G. Karnavas gave an interview on the first trial of a Russian soldier in Ukraine. The interview is available at ABC Australia, RN Breakfast with Patricia Karvelas, Russian soldier jailed for life over war crime.
  • On 28-29 March 2022, Michael G. Karnavas conducted an advocacy skills training for Turkey defense lawyers in Kilis, Turkey. He trained over 50 defense lawyers who are members of the Kilis Bar Association. Topics included: the rights of the accused with a special emphasis on children—international norms; the rights of defense lawyers—international/comparative norms and standards; interviewing the client; and case preparation and theme and theory of the case. The training was organized by International Bridges to Justice (IBJ), Geneva and hosted by the Kilis Bar Association, Kilis, Turkey. 
  • On 25-27 March 2022, Michael G. Karnavas conducted an advocacy skills training for Turkey defense lawyers in Gaziantep, Turkey. He trained over 120 defense lawyers who are members of the Gaziantep Bar Association. Topics included: the rights of the accused with a special emphasis on children—international norms; the rights of defense lawyers—international/comparative norms and standards; interviewing the client; and case preparation and theme and theory of the case. The training was organized by International Bridges to Justice (IBJ), Geneva and hosted by the Gaziantep Bar Association, Gaziantep, Turkey.
  • On 8 July 2021, Michael G. Karnavas spoke at a podcast sponsored by several agencies, including the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs, focused broadly on questions of International Criminal Law and Expectations vs. Reality.
  • On 22-24 June 2021, Michael G. Karnavas took part in the African Access to Justice Women’s Network defender skills virtual training. He trained 100 female lawyers from 10 African countries. Topics included: Rights of a defense attorney. The training was organized by International Bridges to Justice (IBJ), Geneva.
  • On 18-20 June 2021, Michael G. Karnavas conducted a criminal defender skills training and workshop (online). He trained over 100 defense lawyers, from five key regions in Indonesia. Topics included: the rights and responsibilities of a legal aid attorney; examination of witnesses; and “when victims become defendants: strategies for a litigation conundrum.” The training was organized by International Bridges to Justice (IBJ), Geneva, Switzerland and hosted by LBH-APIK Jakarta, Indonesia.
  • On 26-30 March 2021, Michael G. Karnavas conducted a defender advocacy workshop (online). He trained 50 defense lawyers from China and Thailand. Topics included interviewing juvenile client, reviewing a case file, and case preparation. The training was organized and hosted by Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.
  • On 25 February 2021, Michael G. Karnavas conducted a training on Housing, Land, and Property (HLP) Violations and Criminality, identifying how HLP disputes become criminal matters, how lawyers protect their clients’ HLP rights in criminal cases, and how they prevent custodial punishments in HLP civil cases. The training was organized by the International Bridges to Justice (IBJ).
  • On 11 February 2021, Michael G. Karnavas conducted a Special criminal defense skills training related to military-coup related offenses (online), sharing experience of lawyering in time of emergency. The training was organized by International Bridges to Justice (IBJ) in Myanmar.
  • On 17-18 November 2020, Michael G. Karnavas conducted a Criminal justice training and workshop (online). He trained 30+ lawyers practicing in the northwestern region of Syria. Topics included how can lawyers prevent police human rights abuses and trial and case preparation. The training was organized by International Bridges to Justice (IBJ), Geneva and International Legal Assistance Consortium, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • On 22 September 2020, Michael G. Karnavas appeared as a guest speaking at Professor David Wilkins’ class at Harvard Law School, focusing on ethics in the legal profession.
  • In July 2020, the Oxford University Press published Codes of Conduct for Counsel in International Criminal Proceedings, by Michael G. Karnavas, as part of the Max Planck Encyclopedia of International Procedural Law. The volume provides a detailed overview of the codes of conduct at international criminal tribunals and the challenges counsel face in meeting their ethical and professional obligations.
  • On 13-15 September 2019, Michael G. Karnavas conducted a Criminal Defense Skills Training Workshop in Kandy, Sri Lanka. He trained 120+ defense lawyers from the central, western, southern, north, and eastern provinces. Topics included: client interviewing skills; developing the theme and theory of a case; direct examination; and cross-examination. The training was organized by International Bridges to Justice (IBJ), Geneva, Switzerland and hosted by the Bar Association of Kandy, Sri Lanka.
  • On 12-13 July 2019, Michael G. Karnavas conducted a Criminal Defender Advocacy and Legal Skills Training Workshop in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He trained 80+ newly graduating lawyers at the Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Topics included: the rights of an accused person in Cambodia; the rights, duties and responsibilities of a defense lawyer; advocacy skills (effective cross-examination, case preparation, and investigation); effective closing arguments; and defense theme and theory of the case. The training was organized by International Bridges to Justice (IBJ), Geneva, Switzerland and hosted by the Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia.
  • Michael G. Karnavas wrote a chapter entitled The Serendipitous Nature of the ICC Trial Proceedings Risks the ICC’s Credibility (pp.: 202–247), in Justice Without Borders a collection of essays on international criminal law. European criminal law and international cooperation, honoring Judge Wolfgang Schomburg on the occasion of his 70th birthday on 9 April 2018.
  • On 8 February 2018, Michael G. Karnavas was quoted on the international criminal law aspects of the Rohingya situation in the Massacre in Myanmar A REUTERS SPECIAL REPORT.
  • On 14 December 2017, Hrvatski tjednik, a Croatian weekly newspaper, published an interview (Croatian, English) with Michael G. Karnavas on the Prlić, et al case based on his post in memory of General Slobodan Prlajak.
  • On 9 December 2017, Michael G. Karnavas delivered a presentation via Skype at the annual conference of the Association of Defence Counsel practicing before the International Courts and Tribunals (ADC-ICT). This year’s theme was International Crimes: Past, Present, and Future Perspectives. Participating on the panel focusing on the current developments relating to the core crimes at the international(ized) criminal courts and tribunals, Mr. Karnavas discussed the meaning of “civilian” for the purpose of Crimes Against Humanity at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). 

Testimonial