ADC-ICTY Advocacy Training: Case Preparation, Direct and Cross-Examination

Michael G. Karnavas, ADC-ICTY Training 28 March 2014On 28 March 2015, the Association of Defence Counsel Practising Before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ADC-ICTY) invited me to present a full day of Advocacy Training. The event was held from 9am to 7pm at the ICTY in The Hague, The Netherlands. The aim of the training day was to help guide legal professionals through the process of preparing a case and to provide tips and approaches for direct and cross-examination. I also re-examined the core principles of evidence and objections that were covered in the Defence Symposium on 12 March 2015.

There were 43 attendees, including ADC-ICTY members, staff and interns, as well as members of Prosecution, Chambers and Defence at the ICTY, International Criminal Court (ICC) and Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). There were also staff members from Global Rights Compliance and Slagen Advocaten, and students from the University of Amsterdam and University of Paris-Est.

The main topics covered were:

(a) Case preparation, including brainstorming the theory of the case and developing a personal Trial Notebook;
(b) Admissibility of evidence;
(c) Witness testimony and use of witness statements;
(d) Hearsay evidence, character evidence and opinion evidence;
(e) Expert witnesses;
(f) Preparing a witness for direct examination;
(g) Re-direct examination;
(h) Examination of adverse witnesses;
(i) Cross-examination of witnesses and documents;
(j) Impeachment, rehabilitation, and bolstering;
(k) Guidelines for objections; and
(l) Types of objections.

We examined case materials from the International Criminal Law Bureau’s Mock Trial and evaluated different approaches to direct and cross-examination of the witnesses. Participants also had the opportunity to practice direct and cross-examination.

All participants received certificates and Continuing Legal Education credits as requested. Comprehensive handouts were provided.

If you are interested in the handout material please do not hesitate to contact me at or leave a comment/reply to this post (your email address will not appear on the public section of the blog).

About Author


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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