Trials in Absentia in International Criminal Justice

An experts’ roundtable discussion addressing theory, practice, and future perspectives

On 8 June, the International Bar Association convened an experts’ roundtable discussion on ‘Trials in Absentia in International Criminal Justice‘, which addressed various issues related to the fairness of proceedings, including notice to the accused, the right to re-trial, and effective assistance of Counsel; the tensions between the promotion of the rule of law, fair trial rights and efficiency of proceedings, and the future of trials in absentia in international criminal law.

The program was as follows:

14:00 Welcome by Aurélie Roche-Mair, Director of the Hague Office, International Bar Association (IBA)

14:10 Keynote address by Judge Ivana Hrdličková, President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL)

14:30 Panel 1: Trials in absentia: human rights law & the judicial process
Speakers:

  • Dr Brianne McGonigle Leyh, Associate Professor, Netherlands Institute of Human Rights, Utrecht University; Co-Director of the Utrecht Centre for International Studies
  • Mr. François Falletti, Attorney; former Chief Prosecutor of the Paris Court of Appeals
  • Dr Guido Acquaviva, Deputy Registrar of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers
  • Geoffrey Robertson QC, Barrister, founder and joint head of Doughty Street Chambers; former President of the UN’s Special Court for Sierra Leone
  • Moderator:  Dr Mark Ellis, Executive Director of the IBA

15:45 Coffee break

16:15 Panel 2: Effective representation & ethics in trials in absentia
Speakers:

  • Ms. Héleyn Uñac, Deputy Chief, Defence Office, STL
  • Mr. Thomas Hannis, Defence Counsel, STL; former Senior Prosecution Trial Attorney, ICTY
  • Mr. Toby Cadman, Barrister, 9Bedford Row International; Bangladesh War Crimes Tribunal
  • Dr Kinga Tibori-Szabó, Legal Officer, Legal Representative of Victims
  • Moderator: Dr Jill Coster van Voorhout, Senior Researcher in the Rule of Law Program at The Hague Institute

17:30 Reception

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