The International Criminal Defence Lawyers Association - Germany - e.V. (ICDL) held their annual meeting in Berlin from 27 to 29 January 2017 with several guest speakers from the ICCBA. The meeting included a day of presentations on topics concerning the ICC and international criminal law. The programme was introduced by its President, Jens Cordes and the days discussions moderated by its Vice Presidents – Mike Sturm and Christian Kemperdick.
This annual meeting of the ICDL is always a pleasure to attend and the day’s discussions invariably relevant and interesting. This year was no exception. It’s members exemplify the value of an active specialist bar with extensive interest and experience in international law. Discussions with their members - such as Eberhard Kempf, a leading German lawyer who has played a significant role in the International Criminal Bar - can only be to our benefit.
David Hooper, ICCBA President, spoke on the founding, structure and aspirations of the ICCBA and our wish to work closely with other bars, including of course the ICDL.
The ICCBA was further represented amongst the guest speakers by Karim Khan Q.C, Emmanuel Altit and Luc Walleyn.
Karim Khan Q.C spoke on challenges facing the defence at the ICC and the need for good judges and a strong bar to help confront them. Emmanuel Altit spoke of defence issues in the context of the Gbagbo case, with a review of the rules peculiar to the Gbagbo case governing cross-examination and admission of evidence and which arguably raise concerns as to their implication for fair trial. Luc Walleyn, chairman of the ICCBA victims’ committee, related the increasing confusion that surrounds victim issues at the ICC, his role as Victims Representative in the Lubanga case, the issues arising, and the issues now being met in the reparations phase. He also spoke of the concern generated by increasing inroads being made into the role of independent counsel for victims at the ICC.
Judge Sir Howard Morrison spoke of the view from the bench at the ICC and made particular reference to the importance of a strong and effective defence.
Jens Dieckmann and Natalie Von Wistinghausen are members of the ICDL and the German Bar Association (Deutscher Anwaltverein) and are, of course, also ICCBA members. Both serve on the ICCBA Executive Council, while Jens is on our Professional Standards Advisory Committee and Natalie our Treasurer. Natalie Von Wistinghausen spoke of the role of defending absent accused at the STL; Jens Dieckman reviewed the changes at the ICTY and development of the MICT and the effect on the ADC bar association. ICDL member Mike Sturm related his experiences in a Russian extradition case. Dr Anna Oehmichen presented an interesting review of problems relating to enforcement of sentences at international tribunals and the ICC by reference to the various ad hoc arrangements that are reached and which often result in a harsher prison regime to that afforded domestic prisoners.