ADC-ICTY and ICLB to Host Mock Trial in The Hague from July 6-11

Below is the information for a great one week mock trial program slated for July 6-11, 2015 organized by the Association of Defence Counsel Practicing before the ICTY (ADC-ICTY) and International Criminal Law Bureau. Application deadline is May 15, 2015.

The ADC-ICTY is organising another Mock Trial this year with the support of the International  Criminal Law Bureau. The Mock Trial is a one week event hosted  by  the  ADC-ICTY in The Hague. The week includes hands-on evening sessions for young professionals in the field of international criminal law and a one day Mock Trial exercise in the ICTY courtroom in front of ICTY Judges and Counsel.

The  evening sessions focus on practical skills and expertise and are given by  experienced  Defence  Counsel  to  prepare participants for a career in international  criminal  law.  Topics include “legal drafting”, “oral trial advocacy”,  “opening  and  closing statements” and “ethics in international criminal  law”. Participants will be requested to make written filings in teams as well as perform in the courtroom on the day of the Mock Trial.

Participants will be allocated to one Prosecution team and three Defence teams, or play one of the two witnesses or one of the three accused. Applicants shall inform the ADC-ICTY of their preferred role when submitting an application.

Dates: 6 July – 11 July 2015
Evening  sessions  between  16:00  and  20:00  on  6-10 July and an all-day in-court  exercise  on 11 July 2015. Please note that the Mock Trial is a work-intensive  week  which  will require participants to work in teams and simulate  a real case. Work in the afternoons and evenings may be required. Please consult the Mock Trial Flyer and Programme 2015 for a tentative programme.

Participation Fee:

  • External participants (Defence/OTP) – 160 Euros
  • ADC participants (Defence/OTP) – 80 Euros
  • External participants (witness/accused) – 80 Euros
  • ADC participants (witness/accused) – 40 Euros

This  fee  includes  coffee,  tea and biscuits during the evening sessions, lunch on the day of the Mock Trial, extensive material, certificates, etc.

The  ADC-ICTY  is  unable to offer accommodation, transport or any stipends and participants are responsible for arranging their own housing, transport and financial aid as needed.

For  more  information on how to become an ADC-ICTY Affiliate Member and be eligible   for the reduced rate, please visit:

The  deadline for applications  is 15 May 2015. Please send your CV and a short  motivational statement to Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and candidates are chosen on the basis of their background knowledge and experience to allow for a competitive group of participants.

Additional Information:
Please  contact  the  ADC-ICTY Head Office via
for any queries you may have.

France vs the rest of the world – who is right?

 by Paul Bradfield

On 26 February, the highest court in France, the Court of Cassation, overturned a ruling given by an appeals court last year which had approved the extradition of Claude Muhayimana and Innocent Musabyimana to Rwanda to stand trial.  It also upheld a ruling which had rejected the extradition of Laurent Serubuga.

Three men

Claude Muhayimana (L) and Innocent Musabyimana (R), the two Rwandan men accused of taking part in the massacre of ethnic Tutsis during the Rwandan genocide, wait outside a courtroom after their extradition hearing at the courthouse in Paris (Photo: AFP)

Muhayimana is accused of taking part in the massacre of Tutsis in the western town of Kibuye, while Musabyimana is alleged to have been involved in the killings in the north-western province of Gisenyi. Serubuga was Rwanda’s deputy army chief-of-staff at the time of the genocide.

In essence, the court ruled that the men could not be tried retroactively for crimes which were not legally defined at the time it was allegedly committed. Continue reading

Sainovic Appeal rejects ‘specific direction’, but was it necessary?

by Alex Fielding, @alexpfielding on twitter

In a dramatic turn of events, the ICTY Appeals Chamber in Sainovic et al has, with a 4-1 majority,  “unequivocally rejected” the Perisic Appeal’s finding that specific direction is an element of aiding and abetting liability.

Lukic, Pavkovic, Lazarevic, Sainovic (L to R), photo:

Specific direction has been subject to a fascinating debate in the blogosphere (see Kevin Heller’s defence of specific direction here, and the critiques by Marko Milanovic here and James Stewart here and here). Continue reading

ADC-ICTY Legacy Conference in the Hague – 29 November 2013

The ADC-ICTY Legacy Conference will take place in the Bel Air Hotel, The Hague, on 29 November 2013. The keynote speech will be delivered by H.E. Judge Theodor Meron, ICTY President. Speakers and moderators include The Right Hon. Lord Iain Bonomy, Judge Bakone Justice Moloto, Judge Howard Morrison, as well as renowned Defence Counsel. The conference is organised with the support of the Law Faculty of the Erasmus University Rotterdam.


Credit: ICTY

You can follow the ADC-ICTY Legacy Conference on Twitter – follow @ADCICTYLegacy. @ADCICTYLegacy aims at providing information about the conference and the publication that will follow.  On 29 November, they will be live tweeting from the conference for those who are unable to attend. The schedule is available here.

To register for the conference, please click here and for any other information on the conference, please contact Isabel Duesterhoeft at

For information on social media issues relating to the conference, please contact Anna Katulu at

A Proposal to Compensate the Acquitted and Promote Reconciliation in the Balkans

by Alex Fielding, @alexpfielding on twitter

In light of the ongoing Seselj drama following the disqualification of Judge Harhoff for his pro-conviction bias (see my earlier post here and recent developments here) and the controversial acquittals of Momcilo Perisic, Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac by the ICTY Appeals Chamber, and those of Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic at trial, I keep coming back to the question of compensation for acquitted persons for the years spent in detention. While this may not, on its face, be a popular proposition for human rights activists and a general public whose primary concern is ‘ending impunity’, consider the following figures.

Momcilo Perisic, Photo: ICTY

According to my calculations, Momcilo Perisic, former Chief of the General Staff of the Yugoslav Army, spent approximately 4 years, 5 months and 10 days in detention prior to his acquittal on appeal on 28 February 2013 (note that these figures are NOT including the periods of provisional release from the ICTY’s detention facility in The Hague, which in Perisic’s case amounted to an additional 3.5 years).

Ante Gotovina, former Colonel General of the Croatian Army and Commander of ‘Operation Storm’, spent approximately 6 years, 11 months and 12 days in detention prior to his acquittal on appeal on 16 November 2012.  His co-accused Mladen Markac, former Operational Commander of the Croatian Special Police, spent 5 years, 7 months and 12 days in detention prior to his acquittal on appeal.

Ante Gotovina & Mladen Markac, Photo: Guardian

Ante Gotovina & Mladen Markac, Photo: Guardian

Including time spent on provisional release (I couldn’t find the relevant detention figures that do NOT include provisional release), it took 10 years from the time Jovica Stanisic, former Chief of the Serbian State Security Service, was sent to the ICTY to his acquittal at trial on 30 May 2013.  His co-accused Franko Simatovic, member of the Serbian State Security Service, waited 9 years, 11 months and 19 days for his acquittal at trial. Both men have been released pending the Prosecution’s appeal. They have also submitted arguments on appeal to the effect that the trial judgment was tainted by the bias of one of the sitting judges on the case, Judge Harhoff, but more on this later.

Vojislav Seselj, former President of the Serbian Radical Party, has already spent 10 years, 8 months and 25 days in detention (although 4 years and 9 months were a result of his three convictions for contempt of court) as he awaits a trial judgment that may be fatally flawed. Closing arguments wrapped up in March 2012 and the judgment had been scheduled for delivery on 30 October 2013 but then Judge Harhoff was disqualified for bias on 28 August 2013. Since there was no reserve judge in this case, the acting President of the ICTY Judge Agius controversially appointed Judge Niang to replace Judge Harhoff on 31 October 2013, even though he was not present during the entirety of the trial itself.

Continue reading

Charles Taylor Appeal: Why its rejection of ‘specific direction’ doesn’t matter

by Alex Fielding, @alexpfielding on twitter

The international criminal law world has been eagerly awaiting the Charles Taylor appeal to see whether the controversial ‘specific direction’ standard for aiding and abetting liability from the ICTY’s Perisic Appeal would be followed by the Special Court for Sierra Leone (“SCSL”).  The SCSL Appeals Chamber rejected Taylor’s appeal against a 50-year sentence for aiding and abetting crimes committed by Revolutionary United Front (“RUF”) and Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (“AFRC”) during Sierra Leone’s bloody civil war. The full text of the Taylor Appeal can be found here.

Photo credit: Guardian

Photo credit: Guardian

To recap, Perisic was acquitted because, considering his geographic remoteness from the crimes, his involvement in providing general assistance to the Bosnian Serb army, an organization with lawful and unlawful activities, was not ‘specifically directed’ towards their criminal activities.

For background on the ‘specific direction’ debate, James Stewart has strongly opposed this development here and here, and Kevin Heller provides a counterargument here.

Much has been discussed already in the blogosphere on the Taylor Appeal’s vigorous rejection of Perisic and the ‘specific direction’ requirement (see Kevin Heller on the SCSL’s incoherent and selective analysis of custom re: specific direction and Marko Milanovic’s post here).

Specific direction has been frequently misunderstood.  Continue reading

Judge Harhoff Disqualified for Bias from Seselj Trial Chamber

by Alex Fielding, @alexpfielding on twitter

Marko Milanovic over at EJIL Talk! has posted an excellent analysis of the decision by a specially-convened ICTY Chamber (a 2-1 decision with Judge Liu dissenting) to disqualify Judge Harhoff for bias in the Vojislav Seselj case.  The decision is available here and for context, here is our earlier post on the letter that led to Judge Harhoff’s disqualification.  So what happens now?


Photo Credit: ICTY

1. Seselj Retrial?

As Marko notes, the Seselj Trial Chamber had no reserve judge, and therefore a re-trial seems like the only option. Seselj has already spent 10 years in detention and there are serious fair trial concerns if he were to start over under the ICTY branch of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (which has a renewable four year mandate that started in 2012). How long must a trial last before it becomes a violation of the fundamental right to a fair trial within a reasonable time? The UN will surely not be happy with the prospect of funding and extending the ICTY’s mandate solely because of a Seselj retrial.  Seselj could even file a motion for compensation based on his extensive period of detention and the trial’s collapse.

Continue reading

Journée de la justice pénale internationale : la quatrième tentative du 17 juillet 2013.

« La journée de la justice pénale internationale » est, avec « la journée pour la justice sociale », l’une de ces occasions annuelles et universelles qui permettent de communiquer sur un sujet d’intérêt commun. Ces deux journées partagent également, même si leur intitulé ne le précise pas, une vocation internationale (il manque en effet l’adjectif qualificatif « internationale » accolé au substantif « journée »). Bien que sa vocation initiale soit la promotion par diverses formes de communication de la justice pénale internationale, cette journée est aussi l’occasion de dresser un bilan et d’évoquer l’avenir.

C’est d’ailleurs à l’occasion d’un exercice de bilan que la création de cette journée a été décidée. En effet, l’Assemblée des États parties à la Cour pénale internationale, réunie pour la première conférence de révision du Statut de Rome,  a décidé « de célébrer dorénavant le 17 juillet, jour de l’adoption du Statut de Rome en 1998, comme la Journée de la justice pénale internationale » (ICC/RC/11/Decl.1). C’est ainsi que la première journée de la justice pénale internationale fut célébrée, le 17 juillet 2010. Mais il a fallut attendre l’année 2011 pour que l’institutionnalisation de cette journée prenne toute son ampleur. Sous l’impulsion du Greffe de la Cour pénale internationale, plusieurs activités avaient été prévues dans la ville du siège de la Cour, La Haye aux Pays-Bas, alors que le Tribunal pénal pour l’ex-Yougoslavie avaient été associé.

Cette année, quinze ans après l’adoption du Statut de Rome, la journée de la justice pénale internationale n’a visiblement pas la portée souhaitée. En effet, l’universalisme indispensable à ce type d’occasion, souffre sous deux aspects : géographique et matériel. Force est de constater que, géographiquement, la célébration de cette journée demeure limitée, en dehors des quelques États qui soutiennent la cour avec une vivacité permanente. En outre, la journée de la justice pénale internationale n’est pas célébrée par toutes les juridictions pénales internationales. Cette année, seule la Présidence de la Cour pénale internationale a communiqué une déclaration, singulièrement franche, de laquelle peuvent être retenus les éléments suivants :

Continue reading

Judge Harhoff, Specific Direction and the Perisic Acquittal

by Alex Fielding, @alexpfielding on twitter

[Updated on August 12]

Much has been stated, debated, alleged and insinuated about that letter by Judge Harhoff to 56 of his friends and associates about the “tenacious pressure” applied by Judge Meron on his fellow judges for the acquittals in the Ante Gotovina et al and Momcilo Perisic appeals and the alleged political influence of the US and Israeli governments in those acquittals.

Photo courtesy of ICTY website

Photo courtesy of ICTY website

The impropriety of the letter and need for a binding code of conduct for judges and prosecutors (to complement the existing code for Defence Counsel) has been discussed over at the International Criminal Law Bureau blog and Opinio Juris.  A blog post at Balkan Insight also provides a legal analysis of the acquittals in question to argue that it is not so much the law that has changed, but the fact patterns in the recent cases. The New York Times has also reported that Judge Harhoff is not alone in his criticism of Judge Meron and there is a movement afoot amongst ICTY judges to vote in another candidate for ICTY President this fall.

Disclosing confidential information about the deliberations of the Appeals Chamber (of which Judge Harhoff did not take part) and proposing unsubstantiated conspiracy theories is improper, as these blog posts have discussed in detail. The focus of this post, however, is Judge Harhoff’s comments on the Perisic Appeal and his  analysis of aiding and abetting liability (which, incidentally, was decided by a 4-1 majority, not 3-2 as stated in the letter).

Continue reading