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9 Bedford Row in London Legal Walk 2018

9 Bedford Row in London Legal Walk 2018

The 9 Bedford Row Chambers team for this year’s London Legal Walk, taking place on Monday 21st May, currently consists of Steven Kay QC, Patricia May, Puneet Grewal, Aneurin Brewer, Drea Becker and Alex Matthews (with more to follow). Like last year, the walk is with the Lord Chief Justice and thousands of lawyers to raise funds for the London Legal Support Trust which funds Law Centres and pro bono agencies in and around London. The route for the walk is 10km along the River Thames and starts at around 5.30pm.

If you would like to learn more and make a donation please access the link below:

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/9BedfordRow18

 

Image source: www.ap-berkeley.com

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ICLB Member Activities International News

IBA Political Prisons Report Used in Recent US Congressional Resolution

IBA Political Prisons Report Used in Recent US Congressional Resolution

A recent US Congressional resolution relies extensively on passages from the IBA’s Political Prisons Inquiry report in which 9 Bedford Row’s Steven Kay QC and Kirsty Sutherland acted as counsel for the Inquiry. Pages 3-6 are devoted to a lengthy, verbatim recitation of Inquiry findings.

Please see the following link for further details: https://connolly.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=1291

 

Image source: pixabay.com

Categories
International Criminal Law News International News

Article from December 2017 Marks 25 Years of the ICTY

Article from December 2017 Marks 25 Years of the ICTY

At the end of last year an article was published by Dutch Reformed Daily, marking 25 years since the launch of the ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia). The piece attempts to answer whether the high expectations for the court when it was initially launched in 1993 have been met over two decades later. Steven Kay QC is quoted in the article which can be found below. NOTE: article is in Dutch so will need to be translated to be read in full. https://www.rd.nl/vandaag/buitenland/joegoslavië-tribunaal-van-blijvende-waarde-1.1457025

 

Image source: www.hlc-rdc.org

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ICLB Member Activities International News

9BRi and ICLB Members in ADC-ICT Elections

9BRi and ICLB Members in ADC-ICT Elections

Jens Dieckmann (Associate Member of 9 Bedford Row International) and Colleen Rohan (Member of 9 Bedford Row International and the International Criminal Law Bureau) both ran in the recent ADC-ICTY elections. Colleen Rohan has been elected as President of the ADC-ICT for 2017/2018 and has become a Member of the Executive Committee. Meanwhile Jens Dieckmann has been reelected as Member and Chair of the ADC-ICT Disciplinary Council for 2017/2018.

To read Jens and Colleen’s ADC-ICTY profiles and to learn about the other members of the Disciplinary Council and the Executive Committees, click the links below:

https://www.adc-ict.org/executive-committee

https://www.adc-ict.org/disciplinary-council

 

Image source: Colleen Rohan

Text source: www.adc-ict.org

Categories
International Criminal Law News International News

IBA News Release – North Korea: Inquiry finds Kim Jong-un should be investigated and prosecuted for crimes against humanity

IBA News Release – North Korea: Inquiry finds Kim Jong-un should be investigated and prosecuted for crimes against humanity

Warning: graphic information in this report may upset some readers

A new report, authored by three internationally renowned judges – Navanethem ‘Navi’ PillayThomas Buergenthal and Mark B Harmon – under the auspices of the International Bar Association (IBA) War Crimes Committee, calls on the international community to vest in the International Criminal Court (ICC) or a special international tribunal the power to investigate crimes against humanity committed in North Korea’s political prisons, and to hold culpable parties accountable for their crimes, including ‘Supreme Leader’ Kim Jong-un, members of the Workers’ Party of Korea and its Politburo, internal security officials and prison guards. The three judges, who together have served on some of the most consequential international tribunals of the last half-century and include a child survivor of Auschwitz and a former ICC judge, also call on North Korea to dismantle its gulag system and release the estimated 80,000-130,000 political prisoners.

Under established legal doctrine, including the principle of ‘command responsibility’ – hierarchical accountability, where superiors are held responsible for the criminal acts of their subordinates – the report includes evidence that demonstrates Kim Jong-un and other regime officials should be prosecuted for ten of the 11 crimes against humanity enumerated in the Rome Statute (the treaty establishing the ICC), including crimes committed by subordinates such as prison guards. The ten crimes are: murder, extermination, enslavement, forcible transfer, imprisonment, torture, sexual violence, persecution, enforced disappearances and other inhumane acts.

Titled, Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity in North Korean Political Prisons,the report focuses on evidence of crimes against humanity committed in North Korea’s political prisons, which include systematic murder (including infanticide), torture, persecution of Christians, rape, forced abortions, starvation and overwork leading to countless deaths. Referenced in the report is highly detailed satellite imagery that, alongside testimony of defectors, debunks North Korea’s denial of the existence of its political prisons, described by Amnesty International as ‘very possibly home to some of the most appalling torture in the world’.

The Inquiry is an unofficial follow-up to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry (UN COI) on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) that, in 2014, published its findings on regime-wide human rights abuses.

During a day-long hearing held in Washington, DC in 2016, Chief Judge Navi Pillay and her fellow judges heard testimony from North Korean defectors, including a North Korean political prison guard and prison camp survivors. They provided graphic testimony of atrocities they witnessed or were subjected to in the political prisons, including accounts of:

  • prisoners tortured and killed on account of their religious affiliation, with officials instructed ‘to wipe out the seed of [Christian] reactionaries’;
  • a prisoner’s newborn baby, fed to guard dogs and killed;
  • an abortion induced by three men standing on a wooden plank placed on a pregnant prisoner’s stomach;
  • a female prisoner losing consciousness after enduring a beating designed to trigger premature labour, with prison officials killing her baby before she could regain consciousness;
  • a prisoner raped by a security officer, after which the officer pushed a wooden stick inside her vagina and beat her lower body, resulting in her death within a week;
  • the deliberate starvation, malnutrition, overwork and death of countless prisoners, including between 1,500-2,000 prisoners, mostly children, who are believed to have died each year from malnutrition in one camp alone, with many other prisoners beaten to death for failing to meet production quotas;
  • a soldier supervising a forced labour site rolling a log down a steep mountainside, killing ten prisoners as they were carrying logs up the mountain;
  • routine public executions of prisoners, carried out in front of both children and adults, designed to subdue the prison population;
  • the execution of starving prisoners found digging for edible plants on a mountainside; and
  • the beating to death of a prisoner for hiding stolen corn in his mouth.

Alongside personal testimonies, the Inquiry drew on other sources of evidence, including scholarly works, videos, transcripts, testimony provided to the UN COI, and the live testimony of two leading experts on North Korea’s network of political prisons and its political system, David Hawk and Kenneth Gause. These and other experts have written about North Korea’s longstanding policy of imprisoning the children, spouse, parents and other family members of a purported violator in order to eliminate the ‘seed’ of three generations of ‘class enemies’.

Following the hearing in December 2016, the Inquiry received a detailed affidavit from Mr Thae Yong-ho, North Korea’s former Deputy Ambassador to the United Kingdom, and its highest-ranking defector in recent years. Mr Thae’s detailed affidavit provided damning testimony about Kim Jong-un and regime officials, and their level of involvement in committing grave human rights abuses.

Among the nine recommendations made by Judges Pillay, Buergenthal and Harmon in the new report are:

  • the dismantlement of the DPRK political prison system and commitment to a new system of fair and transparent justice that affords proper due process to its citizens and acceptance of an international monitoring scheme that ensures the present political prison system remains dismantled;
  • the implementation of safeguards by UN member states to prevent the importation of products produced in the North Korean penal system; and
  • the adoption of carefully targeted, coordinated and multilateral sanctions against individuals deemed responsible for past or ongoing crimes against humanity in the DPRK.

Steven Kay QC, past Co-Chair of the IBA War Crimes Committee and the lead lawyer to present evidence of North Korea’s alleged crimes against humanity at the Inquiry, stated: ‘ North Korea’s network of political prisons has largely eluded the scrutiny of the international community over the decades but, as the number of North Korean defectors swells and accounts of brutal treatment carried out against prisoners are relayed to the outside world, it has become more difficult for the international community to avert its gaze.’ He added: ‘The international community should not be deterred from holding to account the perpetrators, from prison guards to those seated at the apex of power. We need to work to halt the seven-decade reign of impunity.

A discussion of the Inquiry’s findings will take place in Washington DC, today, 12 December, from 9:30am-10:45am at the National Press Club. For more information about the event and/or to register attendance please contact Sosseh Prom at sosseh.prom@int-bar.org.

 

Supplied by the International Bar Association (IBA)

 

Image source: www.martindale.com

Categories
International Criminal Law News

Steven Kay QC on Inquiry Findings Regarding Political Prisons in North Korea

Steven Kay QC on Inquiry Findings Regarding Political Prisons in North Korea

Written by Steven Kay QC

The IBA War Crimes Committee established a team of counsel to prepare a brief for an Inquiry to establish whether the infamous Political Prisons in North Korea called Kwanliso established decades ago by Kim Jong Un’s grandfather were still in existence, under what conditions, who was responsible and whether this was a crime against humanity. It was believed whole generations of families still remained in these isolated camps and the people incarcerated in barbaric conditions had no prospect of release but to remain and die.

Evidence was collected from the IBA Commission on North Korea, defectors from the regime and from experts on the political structures of the state and through satellite imagery that proved the Kwanliso were still in existence and operational. The defectors were former camp guards and controllers of the camps who had escaped from the regime.

A hearing was held before international Judges in Washington DC at which evidence was presented by the War Crimes Committee counsel who examined the defector witnesses and the experts and the satellite imagery. A full brief including evidence and legal argument was submitted to the Judges.

The evidence proved that the political leadership of North Korea that functions through obedience to the Supreme Leader was aware of the existence of the camps, supported their operations and created conditions that were crimes against humanity.

This is an important body of work upon an aspect of the North Korean Regime that was little known because it represented the most horrific treatment of generations of families held isolated in adverse conditions with no prospect of release. Whole families from great gandparents to babies were removed from daily Korean life and placed in 5 designated camp areas with no humane consideration given for their survival.

This Inquiry shines a light upon what happens to ordinary people who have no political voice and no rights including that of survival.

Kim Jong-Un will face a reckoning on a date and at a place in the future where he will have to account for matters for which he is responsible as will those who support him and cary out his orders. There is no defence of following orders available to those who commit crimes against humanity.

Kim Jong-Un is being investigated and this report will form part of the evidence against him. International investigations for universal crimes against humanity use this type of evidence to establish the grounds for bringing a case.

 

Image source: famouswonders.com

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Opportunities

Mental Health in the Legal Profession

Mental Health in the Legal Profession

Research suggests that 1 in 6 employees at any one time will experience mental health issues in the UK. These account for 30-40% of absences from work and as much as 50% of all long-term sick leave cases.

Legal professionals fall within a high-risk group of individuals who are likely to experience the symptoms of mental ill-health during their professional lives.

Many professionals struggle to manage work-related stress, suffer from anxiety or depression, have difficulty sleeping, find it hard to switch off, feel overwhelmed or even ‘burnt out’. These experiences are becoming more and more common in the workplace as people struggle to keep up with technology, ensure excellent client care and meet the daily demands of litigation.

A report published by the Bar Council in 2015 stated that 1 in 3 lawyers find it difficult to control or stop worrying, 2 in 3 feel that showing signs of stress equals weakness and 59% demonstrated unhealthy levels of perfectionism.

There is a clear and growing need to address mental health issues in the workplace in a way which responds sensitively to the needs of individuals in order to ensure a healthy working environment, which in turn promotes productivity and commitment.

International criminal barrister at 9 Bedford Row and meditation teacher Gillian Higgins and Dr Sarah Swan, consultant clinical psychologist have come together to provide bespoke solutions to meet the mental health needs of lawyers in practice.

From one-to-one sessions to workshops on how to manage work-life balance, improve sleep and/or deal with stress, to sessions on mindfulness meditation in the workplace, Gillian and Sarah can help provide the practical support your lawyers need.

To book an appointment to discuss your needs, please contact Gillian at gillian.higgins@9bedfordrow.co.uk or Sarah at sarah@swanconsultancy.co.uk

For further details, please go to www.practicalmeditation.co.uk and www.swanconsultancy.co.uk

*****************************************************************************************************************************************

Gillian Higgins is an international criminal barrister at 9 Bedford Row, a civil and commercial mediator and meditation teacher who has designed and delivered “Introduction to Meditation” classes for barristers at Gray’s Inn, solicitors, accountants and mediators at her Chambers in London. Over the past 20 years, Gillian has worked on high-profile, challenging cases dealing with evidence of war crimes in tough environments and as a result, turned to mindfulness meditation to help relieve stress in her working life at the bar. She is currently the head of the International Practice Group.

In 2016, she launched her website Practical Meditation which aims to provide tailor- made courses for professionals. Gillian’s courses are aimed at beginners and supported by the latest scientific research. She also designs themed courses to tackle issues such as how meditation can help to reduce anxiety, deal with issues of perfectionism, relieve stress, increase creativity, productivity and improve a sense of wellbeing.

Dr Sarah Swan is a consultant clinical psychologist with over 20 years experience in mental health and substance misuse. Sarah is able to analyse and formulate your firm’s needs, policies and systems in relation to staff emotional wellbeing.

Sarah has extensive experience in developing and delivering a range of training and other interventions to raise awareness of mental health issues and to support emotional wellbeing. Examples include awareness and management of stress, depression, anxiety and substance use, working with perfectionism and increasing resilience. Sarah also has expertise in delivering therapeutic interventions to support individuals with more complex emotional issues and working with teams in public and private sector settings. Sarah’s training and therapeutic work is all based on current best-practice evidence.

 

Image supplied by Gillian Higgins

Categories
Opportunities

2018 Global Freedom of Expression Prize Nominations Are Now Open

2018 Global Freedom of Expression Prize Nominations Are Now Open

Columbia Global Freedom of Expression is delighted to announce a call for nominations for the 2018 Global Freedom of Expression Prizes that celebrate judicial decisions and legal services around the world that strengthen freedom of expression by promoting international standards. We feel that at a time when freedom of expression is threatened globally, there is a particular need to celebrate victories in defense of this fundamental right. We are inviting nominations from jurists, academics, and non-governmental organizations actively engaged in protecting freedom of expression. Nominees from around the world are eligible. The deadline for nominations is January 31, 2018. Preference shall be given to decisions and legal service rendered in the last 24 months, although older ones may also be considered.

The nominees are reviewed on the basis of significance of impact on freedom of expression and information, sound legal reasoning, and a global understanding of freedom of expression, including through references to international, regional and non-jurisdictional standards, laws, policies, or jurisprudence.

The Nominations Announcement could be found HERE
General information about the Prizes could be found HERE
Información en español: https://globalfreedomofexpression.columbia.edu/updates/2017/10/2018-global-freedom-expression-prize-nominations-open/?lang=es

 

Image sources: globalfreedomofexpression.columbia.edu

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Opportunities

The Legal 500 Supports the Billable Hour Campaign to Help Save the Children

The Legal 500 Supports the Billable Hour Campaign to Help Save the Children

The Legal 500 has teamed up with the Billable Hour campaign, set up by Sean Jones QC. This year the campaign is supporting Save the Children which is raising money in order to aid children across the world who are facing persecution, injustice and hunger. In 2016 Save the Children helped more than 22 million kids dealing with these kinds of struggles.

Since 2015, the Billable Hour has raised £250,000, but more could be done so the campaign is keen for legal professionals to participate. Those that donate one hour of their billable time will be added to the “Billable Hour Heroes” list.

To learn more about the Billable Hour campaign and to donate, click below:

http://www.legal500.com/assets/pages/billable-hour/billable-hour.html

 

Image source: twitter.com/thelegal500

Text source: www.legal500.com

Categories
International Courts and Tribunals

Opening statement in Stanišić and Simatović retrial

Opening statement in Stanišić and Simatović retrial

Today the Prosecution will open the first full retrial in the history of international criminal law.

In 2013, Jovića Stanišić and Franko Simatović were acquitted on all counts in the indictment in their trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia. In 2015, the Appeals Chamber reversed their acquittals having found errors of law which, they said, impugned the trial judgment. Having considered the appropriate remedy, they took the exceptional step of remitting the case to the Trial Chamber of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, ordering a retrial “on all counts in the indictment”.

Accordingly, Mr. Stanišić and Mr. Simatović will today face, for a second time, an opening statement in which the Prosecution will allege crimes committed across the territories of Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina from 1991 to 1995, in support of a five count indictment, and the ensuing trial.

At the centre of the case is an alleged joint criminal enterprise, involving Karadžić, Milošević, Mladić and other senior officials from Serbian, Bosnian Serb and Croatian Serb institutions.

Joe Holmes, led by Wayne Jordash QC, is assigned to the Defence of Mr. Stanišić. Mr. Stanišić was head of Serbian State Security during the Balkans conflict and is alleged to have been within Slobodan Milošević’s inner circle.

The opening statement can be followed on the tribunal’s website: http://www.unmict.org/en

For further background information, click the following link:

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/retrial-starting-serbs-charged-war-crimes-48000852

 

Image source: Martijn Beekman/www.nytimes.com/