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Taku Chambers



Chief Charles A. TAKU, Esq. (Head of Chambers)

Lead Counsel, UNICTR

Lead Counsel, Special Court for Sierra Leone, Counsel ICC

Honorary Member of the Law Firm of Angus Gloag and

Jonathan Goodman and Co.



Shufai Blaise SEVIDZEM B


AWUNGNJIA Tetchounkwi


Publications & Decisions

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Publications & Decisions Post New Entry

Speech of the ICCBA President International Meetings of the Defence �?? 8 November 2018

Posted by Moderator on 30 May, 2020 at 15:20

Speech of the ICCBA President

International Meetings of the Defence – 8 November 2018

Excellences, Your most distinguished honors, ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to be here in my capacity as President of the International Criminal Court Bar

Association to represent the Executive Council of the Association and all members of the Bar

present in nearly all countries of the world in this Conference. I bring the best wishes from

the ICCBA to all assembled her today in this great occasion.

The ICCBA was established in 2016. It serves as the collective voice for Counsel and support

staff at the ICC and that of its members worldwide. The Association was accorded

recognition by the Assembly of State Parties (ASP) of the Rome Statute in its first year, with

the important mandate to represent Victims and Defence Counsel and Support Staff

appearing before the International Criminal Court (ICC). Through that recognition, the ASP

provided the victims and defence counsel before the ICC a structured intuitional framework

within which to participate in the realization of the objectives of the Rome Statute.

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), the ICC and the Ad Hoc Tribunals are living

institutional frameworks on which the collective conscience of universal justice is anchored.

The duty of ensuring the vitality and sanctity of this conscience of universal justice is

undisputedly that of lawyers. Considering this important mandate, it is significant to recall

that the first international court ever to guarantee institutional recognition of the defense as an

independent organ of a court is the STL. The STL is the first responder to the persistent

demands by counsel in international courts and tribunals for institutional recognition. Permit

me therefore, on behalf of the ICCBA to congratulate the STL and the Defense at the STL for

assuming this pioneering rule with dignity and professionalism. History will record that

through this court, and the distinguished lawyers practicing before it, an enduring solution

worthy of emulation was found for the healing of the gapping but often ignored wound of

shame that threatened and still threatens the noble aspirations of universal justice. This

conference in the considered opinion of the ICCBA, is an opportunity for all to celebrate this

unique historic achievement and its pacesetters, the defense at the STL.

Many Defense Counsel at the STL are members of the ICCBA. Many of them were elected

into the Executive Committee and the respective committees of the ICCBA. The ICCBA has

benefitted and is benefiting from the very inspiring experience of professional counsels

operating within this pioneering institutional framework.

The ICCBA is thankful to the ICC Assembly of State Parties for recognizing at long last, the

distinctive significance of counsel and supporting staff in the arduous task of realizing the

universal goals of the Rome Statute in a world in conflict with its very soul. Nevertheless, we


strongly hope that the Assembly of State Parties of the ICC will follow the lead of the UN

Security Council and amend the Rome Statute to grant the defense at the ICC institutional

recognition. It is our considered opinion that without institutional recognition in its founding

statute, the Rome Statute is incomplete and fundamentally flawed. This year is the 20th

anniversary since the adoption of the Rome Statute and it is a unique occasion for the ICCBA

to strongly reaffirm our unwavering support for the universal values of international justice

that reflect upon the present and the future. The ICCBA in total transparency is committed to

fight to strengthen the rights of the accused and the defence at the ICC and to ensure that fair

trials prevail.

There can be no gainsaying that without defence, there would be no international criminal

justice. We all play a vital role in proceedings before the courts, though this pivotal role is

sometimes forgotten by the wider community. Fair trials can only be possible through the

acceptance and respect for the Defence as an equal party in the proceedings. This is

paramount to ensure that the work done in the international courts can be accepted and


Defence Counsel and their staff appearing before the international courts are, indisputably,

vigorous advocates for their clients and are ethically required to be so. The committed

engagement and considerable efforts of defence counsel at the international courts is crucial

to the functioning and the credibility of the courts. We defence counsel do not have an easy

task. Working at these courts presents novel and unique challenges which are rarely

encountered in domestic proceedings.

It is for these reasons that these annual international meetings of the defence are incredibly

important; so that defence counsel and staff from different international courts can come

together and share their experiences and work on improving practices, and ultimately

ensuring that the rights of their clients are respected in proceedings.

On behalf of the ICCBA, I hereby thank the organizers for holding of this meeting. I wish all

gathered here today a very successful and fruitful 6

th International Meeting of the Defence.

Thank you very much.


Categories: Conference Papers

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