John Jones QC


It is with great sadness we report the news of the death of our dear friend and colleague John Jones QC. John was a leading light of the international criminal law fraternity whose contribution to this area of law was immense in scholarship and practise. We all spent happy and exciting times with him in different parts of the world. Our thoughts are with his wife Misa and his young family.

We report below the statement issued by M. Xavier-Jean Keita, Principal Counsel for the Office of Public Counsel for the Defence at the ICC.





Dear Colleagues and Friends, Dear Counsel and DefenceTeams,

International Criminal Justice, Defence, The Law Profession is mourning.

Yesterday 18th of April 2016, young, talented and brilliant Counsel, John R.W.D. JONES passed away, a tragic loss for his Family, friends and our Profession.

He is one of the very few individuals to have worked or appeared at every single international criminal court and tribunal.

As one of the first legal officers at the ICTY – he was part of this justice process from the outset, and has since made an indelible mark on it.

He played an indispensable role in promoting equality of arms by setting up defence offices at the ICTY and SCSL and drafting key texts concerning the rights and role of Defence Counsel.

He wrote and edited the seminal legal texts in this field as concerns practice and commentary regarding the ad hoc Tribunals and the ICC – these were and continue to be the go-to-guidebooks for the profession which are cited in countless filings.

At the ICC, he succeeded Melinda Taylor and myself as Lead Counsel in the Saif Al Islam Gaddafi case, assisted by Sarah Bafadhel, and worked closely with OPCD. As Counsel for Saif Al Islam Gaddafi – he fought tirelessly and formidably for his client’s right to a fair trial.

As Counsel for the Defence, his brilliant advocacy and fearless defence of his clients’ rights inspired countless lawyers to follow in his footsteps, and take up the mantle of protecting defence rights

John was admired for his friendly approach, sense of humour, ability to talk about a huge range of topics, his professionalism, simplicity and humility. He will be sorely missed.

To Miša Zgonec-Rožej and their 2 children, to his family, friends and colleagues, to all the Law Profession and International Criminal Justice, and to his Bar, OPCD expresses sincere condolences.

Kind regards,



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