Dear ICCBA Members,
It is my great pleasure to write to you and update you on the recent work of the
The new Executive Council and Committees commenced their responsibilities on 1 July 2017. Since that time there has been a hive of activity, some of which are detailed below.
At the outset, it is only right to recognise the sincere efforts and work of the former ICCBA President, Executive Council and Committees. Together, they worked to establish the ICCBA as a functioning and credible organisation advancing the interests of victims and defence counsel and support staff. Our challenge and our hope is that the current Executive Council and Committees will build upon these foundations and move forward significantly in order to increase the effectiveness of the ICCBA in discharging its responsibilities under its Constitution.
Now, to a quick overview of some of the work that has been done since July:
· New ICCBA Logo
The Executive Council has approved a new ICCBA logo. This work was undertaken after feedback from various members as to the merits or otherwise of our previous logo. This logo is also quite amenable for inclusion on ICCBA merchandise in due course. The Executive Council would like to recognise and applaud the fantastic work of Ms. Anastasiia Tatarenko who has done a lot of work on perfecting this logo with assistance from Dato’ Shyamala Alagendra (Executive Council and Victims Committee member) and Ms. Quito Mali Tin- Hung Tsui.
· New ICCBA Website (www.iccba-abcpi.org)
The Executive Council is proud to announce the launch of a wholly new website. The Executive Council’s goal in commissioning the new website was to simplify and enhance user experience and ease of navigation. In addition, the Executive Council soon realised that the previous platform was not able to support the training programs that we required. Furthermore, we wanted the website to be more “mobile friendly”. We hope we have achieved these aims, and would welcome any feedback from you.
You will also note that there is a new “Members’ Area” which is accessible via the link at the top right-hand corner of the website (if you click on this link and follow the instructions, you will obtain your individual passwords). The Executive Council wishes to record its great debt of gratitude to Mr. Dominic Kennedy, who has designed the new website, along with the immense support of Mr. Anand Shah (member of the Legal Advisory and Amicus committees and the new “Secretariat” – see below).
A special word of thanks – and my deep appreciation – must go to the French language working group working under the direction of our dear Secretary Xavier Jean Keita. Cyril Laucci, Marion Carrin (member of the Secretariat) and Xavier Jean Keita himself have done essential work in translating text and documents that appear in the French version of the website. Indeed, that is the tip of the iceberg of their indispensable work to the ICCBA, as all communications with the CBF (see below) and other stakeholders are routinely translated by this working group.
· Election of Executive Council Office Holders
At its first meeting on 10 July 2017, the Executive Council unanimously elected Mr. Jens Dieckmann to the post of Vice President for Victims. Chief Charles Taku was unanimously elected to the post of Vice President for the Defence. Similarly, Mr. Emile Aoun was unanimously elected Treasurer and Mr. Xavier-Jean Keita unanimously elected Secretary.
· Secretariat Team
The Executive Council has endorsed the Secretary’s appointment of a Secretariat. The Secretariat is comprised of ICCBA members who will assist the Executive Committee in carrying out the daily operations of the Association. We take this opportunity of welcoming the members of the Secretariat and introducing them to the membership. Their names and details can be found here: www.iccbaabcpi. org/scretariat.
· Recruitment of Executive Director (part-time)
The Executive Council issued a public call for a part-time Executive Director. The advert was placed on the ICCBA website. The Executive Council constituted a selection panel comprised of Xavier-Jean Keita (Chair), Chief Charles Taku, and Dato’ Shyamala Alagendra. Interviews were held with short-listed candidates on 21 September 2017. The recommendation of the selection panel was presented to the Executive Council by the Chair at the Executive Council meeting held on Tuesday 26 September 2017. The Executive Council approved the panel’s recommendation that Mr. Dominic Kennedy be appointed as the ICCBA’s first Executive Director.
· Regional and National Focal Points
The Executive Council has appointed six ICCBA Regional Focal Points and fourteen National Focal Points, who are mandated to conduct certain outreach activities on behalf of the ICCBA in the Focal Point’s geographic area of responsibility. For further on the role and identities of ICCBA Focal Points see: www.iccba-abcpi.org/focalpoints.
· Submission on Legal Aid to Committee on Budget and Finance
On 18 August 2017, the ICCBA transmitted a Submission on Legal Aid to the Committee on Budget and Finance (CBF). In the Submission, the ICCBA requests the CBF to recommend to the Assembly of States Parties that certain interim actions be taken with respect to the payment of ‘professional charges’ to Counsel and Support Staff pending the completion of a full review of the Court’s legal aid scheme. The Submission is available here.
The Executive Council is pleased to inform the membership that on Friday 22 September 2017, the ICCBA was granted an audience before the CBF. I attended this closed-door meeting along with Xavier-Jean Keita (Secretary) and Mr. Cyril Laucci (Executive Council Member and Chair of the Legal Advisory Committee). We look forward to receiving the recommendation of the CBF in due course.
· Submission and Approval of Committee Work Plans
The Executive Council has received, reviewed and provided comments on the various Work Plans submitted by each ICCBA Committee. The Committees are now actively working to implement the approved Work Plans within their respective mandates.
· Meetings with ICC Registrar
On 14 July and 13 September 2017, I met with the ICC Registrar, Mr. Herman von Hebel. A variety of important matters were discussed. The Registrar agreed to create a single closed workspace available to individual Victims teams on a 29 September 2017 rotating / shared basis in accordance with their needs. I impressed upon the Registrar the need to provide work space for victims teams that best supports their ability to comply with their duty of confidentiality under the ICC Code of Conduct for counsel. Once the closed work space is created, the ICCBA will consult with victims teams regarding the utility and practicality of the work space, including with respect to the mentioned confidentiality and information protection concerns. The Registrar has also agreed, in principle, to link the ICCBA website to the main ICC website and it is hoped that this can be done relatively soon. In addition to this, important issues of legal aid and tax were raised with the Registrar and work is ongoing in this regard. Additionally, the Executive Council has entrusted a Working Group consisting of Chloé Grandon (Chair) (member of Counsel Support Staff Committee), Cyril Laucci (Executive Council Member and Chair of Legal Advisory Committee), and Caroline Buteau (Chair of Defence Committee) to focus on the issue of tax liabilities and exemptions. This Working Group will report back to the Executive Council in due course.
· Meeting with Offices of Public Counsel
In November, a meeting is scheduled between the ICCBA Presidency and the Principal Counsel and other senior members of the Office of Public Counsel for Victims and the Office of Public Counsel for the Defence, to discuss the modalities and nature of interaction between the ICCBA and the OPCs on matters of common interest and concern.
· ICCBA Outreach in Africa and Asia
Members of the Executive Council, including myself, Vice President for Defence Chief Charles Taku, Secretary Xavier Jean-Keita, Dr. Caroline Buisman, and Dato’ Shyamala Alagendra, represented the ICCBA before various international conferences and bar associations. These included the ICCBA participating in meetings and conferences of the African Bar Association, the ASEAN Law Association, the Sierra Leone Bar Association, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the Singapore Law Society, a conference of local lawyers in Timor- Leste, and at the International Criminal Justice Day Conference held in Dakar, Senegal. Various photographs of these events are available in the “gallery” section of the website. In general, great interest was expressed by the various bar associations in the establishment and work of the ICCBA. The ICCBA intends to build upon and strengthen working relationships with other bar associations and other relevant organisations through such outreach activities, and alongside the work of the ICCBA Focal Points.
There are, of course, numerous additional actions that have been taken by the ICCBA, and many initiatives planned, that I do not detail here. Please be sure to regularly visit the ICCBA website for up-to-date news and announcements relevant to the work of the ICCBA. Further, in the coming days, the first ICCBA quarterly newsletter will be published, which will provide more detailed information on the above updates as well as additional information on the ICCBA’s activities. A call for members to join the ICCBA newsletter team is available on the ICCBA website. Please participate. This is YOUR bar association!
Should you have any suggestions on how we can improve or if you have anything to say to us related to the work of the ICCBA, please do get in touch via the online form available on the website or send an email directly to: email@example.com. I very much look forward to our collaboration this year and will continue to provide you regular updates on the activities of the ICCBA.
Karim A.A. Khan QC