‘The Defence in International Criminal Courts’: Members of 9 Bedford Row to Speak at ICWC Conference at Marburg University, 3 – 5 December 2014



Steven Kay QC, Gillian Higgins and Jens Dieckmann of 9 Bedford Row will be speaking at the conference “The Defence in International Criminal Courts”, to be held from 3 – 5 December 2014, at the International Research and Documentation Centre for War Crimes Trials (ICWC) at the University of Marburg, Germany. To view the conference programme, please click here.

The conference will review the past and future of international criminal defence in international criminal trials. The 9 Bedford Row team will present their vast experience of these trials in the modern era, ranging from the Tadić case at the ICTY to the case against Uhuru Kenyatta, the President of Kenya, at the ICC. The three-day conference in Marburg will bring together academics and practitioners from various professions in order to highlight different issues related to the defence in international criminal proceedings from a historic and judicial perspective. It will explore who the defence lawyers have been and the strategies they have pursued in dealing with issues relating to the defence. In this context, the individual defence lawyer’s personal and political intentions will be focal points of discussion and networks among counsel will be examined.

Criminal proceedings do not only take place in courtrooms, and public prosecutors and defence lawyers do not only argue over guilt and innocence. In fact, it is more often a question of unearthing the truth. In this respect, defence lawyers may have a unique chance to exert influence on the court’s notions and narratives. This will form the basis of our open dialogue at the conference. We will then ask retrospectively, whether defence lawyers are already having such an influence on the court. “The Defence in International Criminal Courts” will examine these issues as well as other highly topical challenges faced by international defence lawyers.

We intend to focus on this broad but largely untouched research area as we wish to forge a path for a future research agenda. For that reason, we have not only invited members of legal professions, but also historians and social scientists. It is now more necessary than ever to answer these pressing questions of international criminal law with an interdisciplinary approach. That has been made clear by the two previous conferences hosted by the International Research and Documentation Centre War Crimes Trials (ICWC), “The Genocide Convention. 60 Years after its Adoption” (2008) and “Victims of International Crimes” (2011).

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