ECCC Prosecutorial Awakening is No Profile in Courage

One has a moral obligation to take responsibility for one’s actions, and that includes one’s words and silence, yes, one’s silence …

Roberto Bolaño, By Night in Chile

A couple of weeks ago I posted a commentary that appeared in the Cambodia Daily concerning Henri Locard’s remarks while being examined by International Co-Lawyer for Accused Khieu Samphan, Ms. Anta Guisse, and his out-of-court remarks about the defence in general, which also appeared in the Cambodia Daily.

Locard’s out-of-court remarks prompted the Nuon Chea Defence to file a submission requesting a. that the press article that reported on Locard’s remarks be placed on the case file, and b. for the Trial Chamber to disregard Locard’s testimony because, having prejudged Nuon Chea’s guilt, Locard’s testimony was “not impartial or neutral and therefore fails to meet the criteria required to be considered expert evidence.”   The Co-Prosecutors responded.1Case of NUON Chea, 002/19-09-2007-ECCC/TC, Co-Prosecutors’ Response to Nuon Chea’s Rule 87(4) Request to Admit into Evidence a Document an Article Concerning Henri Locard (2-TCE-90), 16 August 2016. Hence this post.

The Co-Prosecutors have no objections to the press article being included in the case file. What other position could they take?  Hardly a bold manifestation of fairness.

The Co-Prosecutors did however object to the Nuon Chea Defence’s characterization of Locard and his testimony.  Despite Locard’s in-court and out-of-court remarks, the Co-Prosecutors find him to be an erudite, objective and credible expert witness.  Predictable.  Although, what else could they be expected to say?  It takes a particularly honest and moral sense of a prosecutor’s higher duty to justice to step out of the adversarial boots and cease vouching for a demonstrably defective witness. Continue reading “ECCC Prosecutorial Awakening is No Profile in Courage”



The ADC’s Continuing Relevance: MICT’s Rules Committee Practice Direction

logo ADC 2004.jpg-for-web-normalThe Association of Defence Counsel Practising Before the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, commonly referred to as the ADC-ICTY, is the association of defence counsel formally recognized by the ICTY. As part of the completion strategy of both the ICTY and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT) was established for both these courts. Trials, appeals, and post-conviction relief have been under the MICT since 1 July 2012 for the ICTR and 1 July 2013 for the ICTY, as ongoing matters are winding down.

The ADC-ICTY remains the only professional association recognized as the official and exclusive association of any of the past and present international and internationalized courts or tribunals. In October 2002, Rule 44 of the ICTY Rules of Procedure and Evidence (RPE) was amended to make membership in an association of defence counsel compulsory,1ICTY Press Release ‘Judges’ Plenary Session Adopt Reforms Concerning Defense Counsel Teams’ (19 July 2002) firmly establishing the ADC-ICTY as the sole professional association dedicated to the interests of all defence counsel – and by extension their staff – practicing at the ICTY.

The original draft of the MICT RPE did not include this requirement, but after the ADC-ICTY requested an amendment, the final version of the Rules included the requirement of compulsory membership of an association of defence counsel in Rule 42. With the MICT coming into existence, the ADC-ICTY was selected to continue in its capacity as the association for counsel practicing before the MICT. The ADC-ICTY was initially provisionally recognized in December 2012 and has been functioning as the de facto Association for the MICT. This recognition was confirmed on 24 August 2015.2MICT-12-01/25-08-2015/(5-3), Decision Recognizing the ADC-ICTY as an Association of Defence Counsel Practicing at the Mechanism, 24 August 2015. Other budding associations at international or internationalized courts and tribunals would do well to emulate the lessons learned by the ADC-ICTY over the past 14 years.

Now my point for indulging in this post. Continue reading “The ADC’s Continuing Relevance: MICT’s Rules Committee Practice Direction”



Amnesty Part IV: The Case Against Saif al-Islam Gaddafi Before the ICC

In the previous post I examined the principle of ne bis in idem / double jeopardy, setting out the general characteristics, underlying rationale, exceptions to the principle, and its transnational applications.

This series on Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and the ICC was prompted by the press conference organized by Gaddafi’s lawyers calling for the ICC to dismiss the crimes against humanity (murder and persecution) charges against Gaddafi for which he has been indicted. Continue reading “Amnesty Part IV: The Case Against Saif al-Islam Gaddafi Before the ICC”


Judges called to task for failure to defend the defence

On 2 August 2016, a prosecution expert lashed out at the Defence while being cross-examined at the ECCC.  The judges of the trial chamber sat silent.  In an opinion piece published 8 August 2016 in The Cambodia Daily, Michael G. Karnavas takes the judges to task for their complicit passivity.

Apathy Signals Open Season on Defense Lawyers in Case 002


On August 2, 2016, Henri Locard, testifying as an “expert” in Case 002, lashed out at Khieu Samphan’s lawyer, Anta Guisse, claiming to have been put under “cold torture” the previous day when examined—“Historian Accuses Tribunal Lawyers Of ‘Cold Torture,’” (August 3).

The reference to cold torture, for those who have not followed the trial, is about one of the methods employed by Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, at S-21, or Tuol Sleng, in extracting confessions. Mr. Locard then went on to say that if Ms. Guisse continued to apply cold torture, after three days maybe he would gift his persona to Angkar, implying that the questioning was a form of re-education to conform his thinking to that of the Democratic Kampuchea regime. Continue reading “Judges called to task for failure to defend the defence”


Amnesty Part III: Ne Bis in Idem in International Criminal Law

In my previous post in this series I discussed some general points on amnesties and pardons, and examined the validity of domestic amnesties for jus cogens crimes with reference to some international examples of this issue in practice.

In this post I will examine the principle of ne bis in idem, or, as it is known in common law systems, double jeopardy.1“The Right to be Protected from Double Jeopardy. This right is designed to prevent the state from repeatedly subjecting a person to prosecution for offenses arising out of the same event until the desired results are achieved. It derives from a sense of fairness, and can be analogized to the civil law concept of res judicata. The non-common law countries refer to it as non bis in idem.” M. Cherif Bassiouni, Human Rights in the Context of Criminal Justice: Identifying International Procedural Protections and Equivalent Protections in National Constitutions, 3 Duke J. Comp. & Int’l L. 235, 288 (1993). This principle prevents prosecution by a subsequent court of an individual for the same offense (and sometimes the same conduct, facts or cause of action) for which that individual was already finally convicted or acquitted. In the United States (“US”), it is enshrined in the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution, which states: “nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.”

To start with, I will set out some general characteristics, underlying rationale, and exceptions to this principle. I will then discuss the question of whether the ne bis in idem principle has transnational application. I will conclude with a checklist to consider when determining the applicability of the ne bis in idem principle to bar prosecution. Continue reading “Amnesty Part III: Ne Bis in Idem in International Criminal Law”



Amnesties and Pardons in International Criminal Law – Part II

Amnesty is defined as complete and lasting forgetfulness of wrongs and offences previously committed. Therefore, when an amnesty is given, since all deeds are consigned to perpetual oblivion and everlasting silence, no one can be accused or punished for acts before committed.1CHRISTIAN WOLFF, JUS GENTIUM METHODO SCIENTIFICA PERTRACTATUM Vol. 2, para. 989 (transl. by and Joseph H. Drake, Oxford 1995).

In my previous post I briefly recounted the background and recent developments in the case against Saif al-Islam Gaddafi at the ICC, and how these recent developments relate to the issues of amnesties, pardons, and ne bis in idem. I was prompted by recent news reports that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi was pardoned and released from prison after being convicted and sentenced to death, and his legal teams’ press conference and statements that the ICC should dismiss the case against Saif al-Islam Gaddafi because he was pardoned and because of double jeopardy. Continue reading “Amnesties and Pardons in International Criminal Law – Part II”



Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and the ICC: is the purported “amnesty” (or pardon) and “double jeopardy” a game-changer?

On 26 February 2011, the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to refer the situation in Libya since 15 February 2011 to the ICC Prosecutor to hold accountable those responsible for attacks on civilians by forces under the control of those responsible. After conducting a preliminary examination, the ICC Prosecutor concluded on 3 March 2011 that there is a reasonable basis to believe that crimes under the ICC’s jurisdiction have been committed in Libya, and decided to open an investigation. Continue reading “Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and the ICC: is the purported “amnesty” (or pardon) and “double jeopardy” a game-changer?”


The ICCBA is born. Huzzah! Now for the steep climb ahead.

On 30 June and 1 July 2016, the International Criminal Court Bar Association (ICCBA) came into being. The ICCBA is the first Bar Association for Counsel and their Assistants practising before the International Criminal Court (ICC). It was launched at the ICC in The Hague, the Netherlands, thanks to the generous support of the ICC Registrar.

FinnishBabyBox1For some of us it has been a long journey of persistent hard work. Few believed it could happen. Even fewer rolled up their sleeves to pitch in. As one of the midwives of the ICCBA, I celebrate the birth and respect that the baby has now been handed over to the duly elected leadership. In doing so, however, I take the liberty of also delivering a figurative Finnish baby box of observations, suggestions and warnings. Continue reading “The ICCBA is born. Huzzah! Now for the steep climb ahead.”


Cambodia Daily publishes Karnavas commentary on US Senate pressure on ECCC to indict in Case 003

On 6 July 2016, The Cambodia Daily published a commentary by Michael G. Karnavas on US Senate Appropriations Committee Bill S.3117.1section 7043(c)(2  The bill, as explained in the Committee’s Report, seeks to tie US funding of the ECCC to the indictment of Mr. Meas Muth in Case 003. Mr. Karnavas calls out the bill’s drafters on their disregard for international standards of justice and respect for the rule of law, and for their lack of understanding of the very procedural rules with which they seek to tamper.

Inducing Case 003 Outcome: US Purse Strings Wielded as a Whip


Last Wednesday, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill: S.3117. Buried 221 pages into that bill is a provision that would stop U.S. contributions to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia unless the U.S. secretary of state certifies and reports to the committee that the ECCC “will consider Case 003.” Continue reading “Cambodia Daily publishes Karnavas commentary on US Senate pressure on ECCC to indict in Case 003”



Making Sense of the Standard & Burden of Proof in Hybrid Courts: Reflections on the Common Law & Civil Law Approaches to Proof — Part IV

Part IV – International criminal courts and tribunals: mixing, matching & inventing

The latest type of international crimes courts, inter alia dubbed ‘hybrid courts’, has been welcomed with great expectations. The hybrid model that is characterized by a mix of national and international components is said to ‘hold a good deal of promise and actually offer an approach that may address some of the concerns about purely international justice, on the one hand, and purely local justice, on the other.’ The hybrid courts are thought to avoid the drawbacks of purely domestic trials and proceedings by purely international courts, such as the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Rwanda (ICTR) and the International Criminal Court (ICC). The model of hybrid courts ‘endeavors to combine the strengths of the ad hoc tribunals with the benefits of local prosecutions.’1Sarah M.H. Nouwen, ‘Hybrid Courts’ The Hybrid Category of a New Type of International Crimes Courts, 2(2) Utrecht L. Rev. ,190 (2006). An excellent expose on what is referred to as hybrid courts, the features they purportedly share and their fundamental differences. With the vast range of differences, Nouwen questions whether there is a promising model hybrid court.

This is the final post on my discussion of standards and burdens of proof in hybrid courts. In the first post, I briefly discussed the terms standard and burden of proof.  The second post dealt with the history of the reasonable doubt standard of proof and the in dubio pro reo principle to provide some context and a background understanding of how the common law and civil law standards of proof diverged and evolved over the centuries. The third and fourth posts dealt with common law and civil law systems and the practical application of standards and burdens of proof in national criminal systems. In this final post to this series, I will address these issues in the context of the international criminal courts and tribunals.  I will also touch upon some of the jurisprudence from the European Court of Human Rights (“ECtHR”). Continue reading “Making Sense of the Standard & Burden of Proof in Hybrid Courts: Reflections on the Common Law & Civil Law Approaches to Proof — Part IV”