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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

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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

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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/

Categories
International Courts and Tribunals

AfCHPR Delivers Judgment in Case between the Republic of Kenya and the Ogiek Community

AfCHPR Delivers Judgment in Case between the Republic of Kenya and the Ogiek Community

At the 45th session of the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights (AfCHPR), the Court delivered a judgment against the Kenyan government in a long-standing case brought before it by the Ogiek Indigenous Peoples.

The case was filed by the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights. The AfCHPR found that the Kenyan government had illegally evicted members of the Ogiek community from the Mau Forest, their ancestral homeland.

The African Court will rule on the reparations to be awarded to the Ogiek community, who have 90 days to file an application that demands reparations and compensation from the Republic of Kenya.

Click the following link to read a more in-depth account of this story:

https://intercontinentalcry.org/landmark-victory-ogiek-delivered-african-court/

 

Image source: en.african-court.org

Text source: intercontinentalcry.org – 1st June 2017

Categories
International Courts and Tribunals

AfCHPR Delivers Judgment on African Commission V Republic of Kenya

AfCHPR Delivers Judgment on African Commission V Republic of Kenya

On Friday, May 26th the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) delivered its judgment on the following case: African Commission V Republic of Kenya. The delivery took place in front of public spectators at the Kibo Hall, the AfCHPR premises at the Tanzania National Parks building.

Click below to read more on the AfCHPR website:

http://www.african-court.org/en/index.php/news/press-releases/item/155-african-court-on-human-and-peoples-rights-to-deliver-judgment-on-african-commission-v-republic-of-kenya-on-friday-26-may-2017

You can view the delivery of the judgment in three-parts by accessing the following links:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

 

Image source: en.african-court.org

Text source: www.african-court.org – 23rd May 2017

 

AfCHPR, Africa, African Commission, African Commission V Republic of Kenya, international law, International Law News, Kenya, Kibo Hall, law, law news, Republic of Kenya, Tanzania National Parks building, the AfCHPR premises, the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights

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Featured ICLB Member Activities

Closing Briefs Submitted in Mladic

Closing Briefs Submitted in Mladic

Prosecution and Defence Final Trial Briefs were filed, simultaneously, on 25 October 2016 before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. These written submissions were subject to a word limit of 300,000 words, six times larger than standard, which reflects both the size of the trial record and its significance for the Balkan region in general. Oral argument will be heard on 5-16 December 2016, before the Trial Chamber moves into deliberations. The judgement is expected to be delivered some time in 2017.

General Mladic (pictured) faces an eleven count indictment, alleging genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war. These substantive offences are alleged to have been committed through all possible modes of liability under the Tribunal’s Statute, including command responsibility and four separate joint criminal enterprises. Evidentially the case is divided into four components, with crimes being alleged in Srebrenica, Sarajevo and 15 municipalities. He is also alleged to be responsible for taking UN personnel hostage in May 1995.

This is the last trial to be heard by the ICTY. Following the trial judgment, the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) will assume jurisdiction over the case, including hearing any appeal. The MICT is currently seized of appeals lodged by the Prosecution in Seselj and a cross-appeal in Karadzic, as well as a retrial in the case of Stanisic and Simatovic.

 

Joe Holmes of 9 Bedford Row represents General Ratko Mladic and assisted in the drafting of his Final Brief. He is led by Branko Lukic, Miodrag Stojanovic and Dragan Ivetic.

 

Image source: bbc.co.uk

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Featured

9 Bedford Row International Report – “The Egyptian Revolution Against the Muslim Brotherhood”

9 Bedford Row International Report – “The Egyptian Revolution Against the Muslim Brotherhood”

Today, 9 Bedford Row International released its latest report entitled “The Egyptian Revolution Against the Muslim Brotherhood”. The report can be read and downloaded at: http://egyptevidence.com/

The report is the third in a series of reports commissioned by the State Lawsuit (Litigation) Authority of Egypt which aim to present an independent and comprehensive review of the Muslim Brotherhood and its allied groups and organisations. The first report, entitled “The History of the Muslim Brotherhood” was released on 2 April 2015. The second report “The Egyptian Experience of the Muslim Brotherhood in Power 2012 – 2013” was released on 4 June 2015.

This third report looks at the final days leading up to the collapse of the presidency of Mohamed Morsi with an analysis of the key events that unfolded in the weeks following his removal from office. Specifically, it reviews the revolution of 30 June 2013 when the Egyptian people forced Morsi to step down on 3 July 2013 and the following clashes that ensued between security forces and Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

Steven Kay QC
London
16 December 2015

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Featured

Notice Report on Egypt Courts & Some Recent Challenges

Notice Report on Egypt Courts & Some Recent Challenges

We are pleased to issue the report “Egypt Courts & Some Recent Challenges”.

Electronic versions of this report with others by 9 Bedford Row may be found at www.egyptevidence.com.

This report was commissioned by the State Litigation Authority of Egypt and addresses a number of headline issues concerning human rights in Egypt. The chapters look at the law of Egypt and the final outcome of certain cases that have been examined by the world’s media and international agencies.

The report demonstrates the developing state of the human rights programme of the government in today’s Egypt that has had to cope with the problems of the past and the turbulence of the recent years.

 

Yours Steven Kay QC