ICLS provides legal and technical training, advice and support in order to ensure accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
Our clients and the beneficiaries of our services include national, regional, hybrid and international courts, judges, prosecutors, defence counsel, court registries, governmental authorities, armed forces, non governmental organisations and businesses.
In 2012, ICLS is implementing a project on trial monitoring of national war crimes trials in Croatia, in collaboration with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The project aims at reinforcing ongoing trial monitoring activities by Croatian NGOs and builds on national and international experience and previous trial monitoring efforts in the region and elsewhere. The trainings offered by ICLS will focus on trial monitoring standards, fair trail standards, information sharing and outreach, and form part of a larger series of trainings offered by OSCE in 2012.
In 2010, ICLS and the Institute for International Criminal Investigations (IICI) partnered on a capacity building programme in Uganda. The ICC-focused programme comprised three training and awareness-raising events held in Kampala for Ugandan prosecutors, investigators, judges, other justice-sector officials, defence counsel and civil-society representatives. In preparation to the training, the ICLS produced the research ‘’Investigating and Prosecuting War Crimes, Crimes against Humanity, and Genocide: Ugandan Law in the Light of International’’ which was distributed to the participants to make the content of their trainings more relevant. The first training was primarily aimed at war-crimes investigators and prosecutors. The remaining two were aimed at judges, justice-sector officials, defence counsel and civil society-representatives. In 2011, ICLS, IICI and the Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG) were invited back organize a workshop to introduce the judges of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal to, and stimulate discussion on, Uganda-relevant international criminal law and practice issues against the backdrop of possible constitutional challenges and appeals arising from war-crimes cases. The capacity building programme in 2010 and the workshop in 2011 was implemented with the support of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) with the backing of Uganda’s Justice, Law and Order Sector authorities.
In 2011, ICLS provided technical advice on a draft briefing paper produced by the International Commission of Jurists in Nepal. The briefing paper seeks to provide a resource to policy-makers and civil society actors in Nepal as they discuss the development of a witness protection mechanism for transitional justice institutions. The ICLS advisors consisted of experts with experience from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Court, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the UN Department for Peacekeeping Operations.
In July 2011, ICLS finalised 15 Modules of training materials in the context of the project: Supporting the Transfer of Knowledge and Materials of War Crimes Cases from the ICTY to National Jurisdictions (“the War Crimes Project”), related to the legacy of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, funded by the European Union and implemented by OSCE ODIHR, ICTY and UNICRI. The training materials, to be launched by the War Crimes Project, consist of a comprehensive, practice-oriented training curriculum on international criminal and humanitarian law and practice, particularly relating to genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, tailored to the legal frameworks of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Serbia. The materials will be used primarily by national legal training centres and other legal training providers in capacity-building activities for legal practitioners in the three states.
ICLS, in partnership with the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation organized a workshop with government experts from Southern African states in Pretoria, South Africa, in 2011 to assess how to ensure further national progress in Southern Africa in terms of addressing war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The workshop mapped the status of domestic implementation of a number of international treaties and sought answers to some of the most pressing ratification and implementation challenges. The workshop was made possible through the support of The Federal Republic of Germany, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and the Open Society Foundation for South Africa.
ICLS partnered with the Institute of Legal Practice and Development (ILPD) in Nyanza (Rwanda) and IICI on a project enhancing the capacity of Rwandan investigators and prosecutors to deal with genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes cases. The August 2009 training event in Kigali involved more than 20 investigators and prosecutors. The training was facilitated by both foreign and Rwandan experts. Two of the most experienced trainers in the field of international criminal law and practice described it as the best training that they have ever been involved with. ICLS went to great lengths to collect and make available to foreign trainers relevant information on Rwanda and Rwandan law, which helped the trainers to make the content of their trainings more relevant. The training was followed by the finalisation of an international criminal law & practice manual for Rwandan practitioners. This project was made possible through grants from the Foundation Open Society Institute (Zug) and the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
ICLS published a “commentary” on Rwanda’s Transfer Law. The law is meant to facilitate the transfer of cases from the ICTR to Rwanda under rule 11bis of the ICTR Rules of Procedure and Evidence and the extradition of suspects accused of genocide and other atrocity crimes to Rwanda from foreign countries. The “Notes on Rwanda’s Transfer Law” are meant to assist practitioners and others in Rwanda and elsewhere working on transfer and extradition cases. The notes were written by ICLS’ Executive Director, Mr Gabriël Oosthuizen, and are also available in French: “Notes sur la Loi relative au Transfert du Rwanda“. This project was made possible through grants from the Foundation Open Society Institute (Zug) and the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
In 2010, ICLS completed a study identifying International Criminal Court-relevant gaps in lessons-learned studies in relation to international and hybrid criminal courts, including the UN international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and the Special Court for Sierra Leone. The project was supported by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
ICLS collaborated with Ms Bettina Ambach, Media Trainer and Journalist, to organise a roundtable discussion in Madrid on the ICC. It was themed “Approaching the Review Conference in Kampala: The International Criminal Court — Achievements and Challenges”, and held on 12 March 2010. Covering topical issues such as the ICC and Africa and the realisation of positive complementarity, the roundtable assessed the successes and challenges of the ICC in preparation for the ICC review conference which was held in Uganda 31 May to 11 June 2010. The ICLS component of the project was financially supported by the Federal Government of Germany.
In 2010, the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations of the United Nations issued a review that it had commissioned the Executive Director of ICLS to prepare. This project, sponsored by the Federal Government of Germany, formed part of ICLS’s efforts to ensure accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide by explaining in a comprehensive and practice oriented manner the jurisprudence on sexual violence, of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
ICLS experts completed an assessment of the sustainability of the State Court and State Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) after 2009 against the background of the current transition arrangements, including the phasing out of the participation of international judges and prosecutors. The assessment was done in 2008 on behalf of the Registry to the said court and prosecutor. See the ”Final report of the International Criminal Law Services (ICLS) experts on the sustainable transition of the Registry and international donor support to the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2009” of the ICLS experts. The conclusions of the final report were taken into account in the decisions of the High Representative of BiH extending the presence of international judges and prosecutors for a further transitional period. See the decision on international judges: Decision Enacting the Law on Amendment to the Law on Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the decision on international prosecutors: Decision Enacting the Law on Amendments to the Law on Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina, available on the website of the BiH Office of the High Representative and EU Special Representative (www.ohr.int). The assessment and follow-up activities were funded by the Swedish International Development Agency.
ICLS and OSJI developed training materials for the training of judges and other lawyers on the international criminal law relevant to the Khmer Rouge chambers (Extraordinary Chambers for the period of the Democratic Kampuchea in Cambodia/ ECCC). The materials were drafted in 2005, then translated into Khmer and updated in 2006 and 2009. OSJI funded the updates and translations into Khmer. The original and updated materials have been and continue to be used at training seminars in Cambodia, including training seminars organised or hosted by the Cambodian bar association, the International Bar Association, the Defence Support Section of the Khmer Rouge court (DSS), the East-West Center, and the Berkeley War Crimes Studies Center. ECCC practitioners also use them as reference resource. ICLS and OSJI also identified potential government nominees for positions of international judges, investigating judges and prosecutors at the Khmer Rouge chambers. A list of potential candidates for other international positions in the judges’ chambers, prosecutors’ office and the office of administration, as well as for defence counsel and court interpreters, was also assembled. To facilitate the official recruitment process, ICLS and OSJI in 2005 forwarded the database of qualified professionals to the UN. In response to a request by the UN International Independent Investigation Commission (Hariri/Lebanon commission), ICLS and OSJI in September 2006 forwarded the database to the commission in support of its effort to identify potential lawyers and investigators.
In 2008, ICLS prepared a briefing paper, commissioned by the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) in 2008, on the potential role that the International Criminal Court could play in the residual functions of the UN international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and the Special Court for Sierra Leone. In early 2007 ICLS prepared a briefing paper commissioned by OSJI on the residual functions of the UN international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and the Special Court for Sierra Leone. The briefing papers were used as discussion documents at two expert-group meetings and have been circulated among the 15 member states of the UN Security Council’s working group on the ad hoc UN tribunals. ICLS partnered with FIDH (the International Federation for Human Rights) and REDRESS to hold a conference in Brussels on “The unfinished business of the UN international criminal tribunals of the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda: The future role of the EU and its member states”. The conference was held on 2 April 2009 at the European Parliament. ICLS also prepared a background paper to the conference.
In 2006, ICLS prepared a briefing paper on trials in absentia under international criminal law for OSJI.