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Supranational Criminal Law Lecture Series

Righting the Balance: Defence Perspectives of International Criminal Justice

Tuesday 29 May 2018
Turfmarkt 99
2511 DP The Hague
Room 2.01
credit: ADC-ICTY

An oft-cited object of international criminal justice is to hold perpetrators accountable for the most serious crimes of international concern. The legitimacy of this aim remains preserved only insofar as the ensuing proceedings are conducted fairly, impartially and in full equality vis-à-vis the positions of the Prosecution and the Defence. However, are we successfully striking this balance?   Drawing from the experience of leading international criminal practitioners and scholars, this panel discussion seeks to explore the under-examined defence perspective on the international criminal landscape, in hope of recalibrating the scales.


Dr. Caroline Buisman is a Dutch international criminal defence and human rights lawyer with almost 20 years of experience before the domestic and international courts. Dr. Buisman regularly appears before the Dutch national courts on matters of international crime, terrorism and human rights. She is also counsel before the ICC, having previously worked at the ICTR, ICTY and SCSL. Dr. Buisman is co-editor of Principles of Evidence in International Criminal Justice (Oxford University Press), assistant editor of Archbold of International Criminal Courts (3rd Ed., Dixon & Khan, Sweet and Maxwell), and the author of various book chapters and articles on international criminal procedure.

Dr. Dov Jacobs is an Assistant Professor of International Law at the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies and a member of the Defence team of Laurent Gbagbo at the ICC. He holds degrees in Law from King's College London, Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne and Paris II Panthéon Assas and a degree in Political Science from Sciences Po, Paris. One of the sharpest commentators on issues of international criminal law and justice, Dr. Jacobs regularly blogs on his much acclaimed page ‘Spreading the Jam’.

Marie O'Leary is currently Counsel for the Office of Public Counsel for the Defence at the ICC, having previously served as Legal Consultant for the Defence Office at the STL. Before this, she worked at the ICTY on several Defence teams (Orić, Đorđević, Lukić and Pećanac), in addition to with an Amicus Curiae Prosecutor and within the ICTY Trial Chambers. Ms. O’Leary has also lectured at the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute and Leiden University.

Steven Powles is a criminal defence barrister with particular expertise in international crime and human rights. Mr Powles has been working in the field of international crime for nearly 20 years. Having first worked as a legal assistant to a judge at the ICTY, before going on to represent Trinidad and Tobago during international negotiations on the establishment of the ICC, he has since gone on to appear before virtually every international court and tribunals. Mr Powles has lectured extensively on international law and is co-author of ‘International Criminal Practice’ (Oxford University Press) – a leading practitioner text on international crime.

Colleen Rohan is an American lawyer with an extensive background in international criminal defence litigation, encompassing complex cases involving charges of genocide, murder, terrorism, war crimes and crimes against humanity. In recognition of the outstanding quality of her work before the international courts, she was recently awarded a Presidential Commendation by the National Association of Criminal Defence Lawyers in the United States. Mrs Rohan was also the editor of the first practice-oriented manual on defending international criminal cases published for an international court and has authored numerous articles in the fields of international criminal law and ethics. 

SCL Lectures are public and free of charge, but places are limited and available on a first-come-first-served basis. Registration via grotiuscentre@law.leidenuniv.nl is therefore mandatory.

The views and opinions expressed in or during the Supranational Criminal Law Lectures are not necessarily those of the host and/or participating organisations, namely the T.M.C. Asser Instituut, the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) and the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies of Leiden University.

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