Academic meets Practitioner

On occasion the Center organizes the Academic meets Practitioner series, during which the CICJ researchers meet with international criminal justice practitioners. Together they discuss their views on various challenges encountered in the practice of prosecutions of international crimes. The series strives to bridge a gap between the theory and practice in search for theoretically informed and practically feasible solutions to the problems encountered in the prosecutions of international crimes. It aims to promote a constructive dialogue and future collaboration between the CICJ researchers and practitioners.

The meetings are by invitation only. For further information or if you are interested in joining, please contact Barbora Hola.

Fall 2016
On 10 November 2016, Melinda Taylor visited the CICJ. She discussed current legal and structural challenges faced by the Defence in international criminal proceedings. Given her experience in the field of international criminal justice, the CICJ was very pleased to host Melinda Taylor. Ms. Taylor is currently representing Mr. Jean-Pierre Bemba in the Article 70 proceedings before the ICC, and is also engaged in human rights litigation on issues concerning arbitrary detention (for example, as concerns Julian Assange). She previously worked for the Office of Public Counsel for the Defence at the ICC, during which time she acted as Counsel for Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi. She has a Masters in International Human Rights law from University of Oxford, and is admitted to practice in New York.

Spring 2016
On 17 May 2016, CICJ welcomed Gregory Townsend who provided a presentation on the ICTY, the completion of its mandate in 2017, witness protection, and the ramping up of the Mechanism (MICT).

A graduate of UCLA, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, L’Institut universitaire de hautes études internationales (Univ. de Genève) and Loyola Law School, Gregory started his legal career as a deputy public defender in Los Angeles. In 1998, he joined the ICTR, where he clerked for a Slovenian Supreme Court Justice before joining the prosecution, spending more than seven years working on numerous cases against high-ranking military and civilian leaders from Rwanda.  He later became a prosecutor for both the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Kosovo and ICTY. From 2008 to 2010 he served as Head of Office for the SCSL in The Hague on the trial of Liberian President Charles Taylor.  He joined the STL in 2010 as chief legal advisor to the Prosecutor and helped craft the first-ever, international indictment for the crime of terrorism against five members of Hezbollah for the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. In May 2014, he returned to the ICTY as chief of the Registry’s Court Support Services Section, where he currently oversees court operations, legal aid and witness protection.

The AmP session took place at VU University, from 12:30-14:00 hrs.

Spring/Summer 2015
In the AmP session on 22 June 2015, Oliver Windridge, Associate Legal Officer in the ICTY Appeals Chamber, addressed the challenges the ICTY Trial and Appeals Chambers face when considering provisional release. Following the ICTY Appeals Chamber’s handling of the provisional release of high-profile accused Šešelj and Hadžić in March and April 2015, the granting of provisional release has come in the spotlight like never before. The ICTY Rules of Procedure and Evidence provide for the provisional release of an accused at any stage of the trial proceedings prior to the rendering of the final judgement. In order to grant the provisional release a Trial Chamber must be satisfied on the balance of probabilities that, if released, the accused will appear for trial and not pose a threat to any victim, witness or other person. By comparing the Hadžić and Šešelj cases, Oliver discussed strengths and weaknesses of the regulation of provisional release, as well as the varying approaches that the provision on provisional release allow for.

Oliver Windridge is a British lawyer specializing in international human rights and international criminal law, currently based in The Hague. Oliver currently serves as Associate Legal Officer and Legal Assistant to Judge Koffi Kumelio A. Afanđe in the ICTY Appeals Chamber. Prior to his appointment at the ICTY, Oliver served as an Associate Legal Officer in the ICTR Appeals Chamber from 2012 to 2014 and before that as an Associate Legal Officer in the ICTR Trial Chamber between 2009 and 2012.

On 31 March 2015, CICJ welcomed Martin Witteveen, a former Investigation Team Leader at the ICC Office of the Prosecutor and an investigative judge at the District Court in The Hague dealing with international crimes cases. He gave a talk on “Domestic or International Prosecutions of International Crimes?” as outlined below.

Copyright CICJ

Martin Witteveen. Photo: CICJ

The international community has spent over a billion EURO on the International Criminal Court. In return, the Court has produced two convictions of relatively unknown rebels in the DRC and some presumed deterrence effects. Equally, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, ICTR, have also spent billions of US$ with mixed results. At the heart of the work of the ICC is the principle of complementarity: cases of international crimes should be dealt with by the national jurisdiction. But if the international community is serious about this principle, it should invest in the national jurisdictions, as they need to be built to be a serious alternative for the ICC. It seems as if the donors of this world are not too interested in seriously investing in criminal justice systems, not for the purpose of ending impunity for international crimes, but also not for ending other forms of violence and crimes that impede the development of these countries. Are we missing out on effective international criminal justice for international and other crimes because we are in awe for the ICC and neglect the national jurisdictions? Given his vast experience in the context of domestic prosecutions of international crimes but also at the ICC, Martin Witteveen discusses advantages and challenges of domestic prosecutions, contrast them to the international prosecutions and address effectiveness of both systems.

Spring 2014

On 13 May 2014 CICJ welcomed Simon De Smet, Legal Officer at the International Criminal Court. Simon has served at the ICC since 2003. He was first assigned to the Pre-Trial Division, but since October 2008 he has been working for the Trial Division. Prior to joining the ICC, he was a law clerk for Judges Thomas Buergenthal and Kooijmans at the International Court of Justice. He holds a PhD from Cambridge University, an LL.M. from Columbia University and a Licentiaat in de Rechten from Gent University. In his talk at the CICJ he will focus on evidentiary challenges and standards of proof at the ICC.

Fall 2013

On 7 November 2013 the CICJ researchers met with Maarten van der Vlugt from the Landelijk Parket, the branch of the Dutch Public Prosecution that is responsible for the domestic prosecution of international crimes. Recently, this prosecution unit has conducted complex and successful prosecutions against, for example, Frans van Anraat in relation to atrocities committed in Iraq and Yvonne Basebya for her participation in the Rwandan genocide in 1994. At the same time, however, they still encounter a lot of practical problems (relating to, for instance, conduct of efficient investigations in far-away countries or witness questioning during a trial ). Maarten gave a presentation on the current developments and challenges this branch is facing and we discussed the possibilities for future cooperation with the CICJ researchers.