Author Archive

British prosecutor appointed to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal

December 2, 2009 Leave a comment

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia announced today that Andrew T. Cayley has been appointed the a new international co-prosecutor for the UN-backed court in Cambodia . The ECCC’s statement said over the last two years, Mr. Cayley, has been in private practice, defending Charles Taylor before the Special Court for Sierra Leone and Ivan Cermak before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Prior to this he served as Prosecuting Counsel at ICTY from 1995-2001, the first three years being seconded from the British army by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the ICTY. Cayley has also served as senior prosecuting counsel for the International Criminal Court investigating crimes in Darfur

The news is significant because Robert Petit, former international co-prosecutor resigned some six months ago and has not been replaced until now. The last two years of the Khmer Rouge trials has seen persistent division between him and the Cambodian Co-Prosecutor Chea Leang over prosecution policy as he attempted to spread accountability wider while. Read more…

Irish Society of International Law Seminar – The Trial of Radovan Karadzic

December 2, 2009 Leave a comment

On Monday, 7 December, The Irish Society of International Law (ISIL) will hold an informal seminar and discussion group on the trial of Radovan Karadzic by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

The seminar will be led by Colin Smith and Joanne Williams will act as respondent.

It will take place at 7.00pm in Court No. 2, the Distillery Building, 145-151 Church St., Dublin 7 and will be preceded by the ISIL AGM, which will begin at 6.30pm.

The seminar is for members only but membership will be available on the door. To promote membership of the society membership is being offered at the normal student rate of €15 to anyone who joins at this event.

Places at the seminar are limited. To reserve a place please email

Demjanjuk Nazi Trial Begins Today

November 30, 2009 Leave a comment

The trial of Ohio-resident John Demjanjuk on charges of being an accessory as a Nazi guard in the murder of 27,900 people in the Nazi death camp Sobibor in 1943 started today. If convicted, he could face a prison sentence of up to 15 yearsthat he is extremely unlikely to fulfill. (Read here, here, here). In the early 1980s, Demjanjuk was accused of being the notorious guard “Ivan the Terrible” at the Treblinka death camp. He was deported to Israel in 1986 and sentenced to death in 1988, but the Israeli Supreme Court overturned his conviction in 1993 after finding reasonable doubt that he was the guard in question. In 2002, the U.S. Justice Department charged Demjanjuk with being a guard at Sobibor and revoked his citizenship for lying about his Nazi past in order to gain citizenship. He was extradited to Germany in May after new evidence allowed the current charges to be brought. He cannot be tried under US law. Read more…

Karadžić trial update: UK lawyer appointed as standby counsel

November 25, 2009 2 comments

The ICTY said yesterday that Radovan Karadžić cannot appeal against the court’s decision to appoint to him legal counsel (Full decision here) after he boycotted proceedings. Judges ordered earlier this month that legal counsel be appointed to Karadžić and adjourned his trial until March 2010 to give new defence lawyers time to prepare. On November 20, the  ICTY named Richard Harvey QC, a lawyer with experience in The Hague representing war crimes suspects from Kosovo and the Bloody Sunday Inquiry to represent Radovan Karadžić if the former Bosnian Serb leader continues to boycott his trial when it resumes in next year. The ruling on November 5 to appoint counsel allows for Karadžić to continue representing himself, but he will have to work with an appointed lawyer. If he continues to boycott the trial, then Karadžić will forfeit his right to self-representation and the appointed lawyer will take over. The Registrar’s Office has stated that representatives of the Registrar’s Office met with Karadžic “…in order for him ‘to express his preference concerning the list of attorneys made by the Registrar. Although the indictee asked the Registrar to let him have an opportunity to meet the attorneys whose names are included in the list, in order for him to be able to say which of them he prefers, (…) after he had met them, the indictee did not say what his preference would be.’” Karadžić’s trial was adjourned just days after it began last month when the defendant refused to show up in court, saying he needed ten additional months to prepare his defence.

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Iraq Inquiry Begins but Questions Remain

November 25, 2009 Leave a comment

In the UK, the Iraq Inquiry (also referred to as the Chilcot Inquiry) into the 2003-present Iraq war began hearing evidence yesterday. On the first day of proceedings (24 November), Sir Peter Ricketts, chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee in 2001 told the inquiry that containment policy in 2001, which included sanctions, was “failing”. He also said that they were aware in around February 2001 that White House officials were discussing “regime change” in Iraq, but that it was not UK policy until after September 11, 2001. Sir William Patey, the former head of the Foreign Office’s Middle East Department was asked if containment policy “could have continued like that until such time as [Hussein] departed?” to which Patey replied “Possibly”.

The Inquiry was announced on 15 June 2009 by the Prime Minister. It is an inquiry by a committee of Privy Counsellors with broad terms of reference to consider the UK’s involvement in Iraq from mid-2001 to July 2009. It will cover the run-up to the conflict, the subsequent military action and its aftermath with the purpose to establish the way decisions were made, to determine what happened and to identify lessons to ensure that in a similar situation in future, the UK government is equipped to respond in the most effective manner in the best interests of the country. 

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Ian Brady and the Right to Die

October 29, 2009 1 comment

I watched a very interesting docu-drama on BBC Alba last night on Ian Brady and the right to die (entitled, predictably enough, Ian Brady – The Right to Die), which has created a minor furore in Scotland about an issue which has largely been forgotten.  

 The Moors murders carried out by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley between July 1963 and October 1965, in and around the Greater Manchester area have, perhaps more than any other murders, passed into the popular consciousness of Britain and Ireland. The victims were five children aged between 10 and 17, at least four of whom were sexually assaulted. The murders are so named because two of the victims were discovered in graves dug on Saddleworth Moor; a third grave was discovered on the moor in 1987, over 20 years after Brady and Hindley’s trial in 1966. Read more…

Karadzic genocide trial resumes in his absence

October 27, 2009 Leave a comment

The familiar adage that justice delayed is justice denied will get a few more outings after the trial of Radovan Karadzic (case IT-95-5/18 ) predictably hit the buffers once more. Mr Karadzic is standing trial as the highest political and military authority in the ethnic splinter state of Republika Srpska in Bosnia Herzegovina during some of the Bosnian War. Prosecutors accuse him of either ordering, encouraging or failing to prevent crimes, including the July 1995 massacre at Srebrenica, when Bosnian Serb forces murdered about 8,000 unarmed Bosnian Muslim males, and the three-year shelling of Sarajevo, which killed more than 10,000. The trial started yesterday and was due to start with the opening prosecution statement, spread out over two days. Karadzic, was also to be given two days to make an opening statement. Yesterday, presiding Judge O-Gon Kwon adjourned proceedings after less than half an hour after Mr Karadzic’s refused to appear. Karadzic Read more…

Wedding Industry Fears Persecution by Equality Legislation?

October 27, 2009 4 comments

LCManufactured controversy has long been the coin of the realm at the Sunday Independent, a paper that last broke a proper news story around the time the Ballinspittle statues got their groove on. In a week where Dónal Og Cusack came out and Germany appointed a gay Foreign Minister, a reaction was probably inevitable. Dredging the unfathomable depths of the barrel of newsworthiness, it reported on Sunday from a meeting of the Fianna Fail parliamentary party which was attended by (wait for it) up to 20 TDs last week. Among the contributors was the inevitable and seemingly ubiquitous director of the Iona Institute, David Quinn. The Iona Institute is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to the strengthening of civil society through making the case for marriage and religious practice. Read more…

High Court Rules Dublin Archdiocese Abuse Report be Partially Published

October 15, 2009 1 comment

fourcourtsThe flow of information and inquiry on institutional abuses in the church continues to change from a trickle to a torrent after Mr Justice Paul Gilligan in the High Court ruled that most of the report of the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation into the handling by the Catholic Church authorities of child sex abuse allegations against priests in the diocese may be published. The report was compiled followed an investigation by the Commission into how clerical child sex abuse allegations involving a sample of 46 priests were handled by Catholic Church authorities in Dublin between January 1st, 1975, and April 30th, 2004. Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern referred the report on the Attorney General’s advice it to the High Court to seek direction because some of the individuals concerned are facing or may face criminal proceedings (Under section 38 of the Commission of Investigation Act 2004, the Minister for Justice must seek directions from the High Court if it is felt publication of a commission report might prejudice criminal proceedings, pending or in progress). Mr Justice Gilligan ruled that chapter 19 of the report or any references to the subject matter of Chapter 19 can not be published until the court directs. Significantly, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has said his “personal preference would be for the report to come out quickly and in its integrity because, reading it in its integrity, the question emerges better”. The difference between Archbishop Martin and his predecessor Cardinal Desmond Connell on these issues could not be greater. While prevarication, obfuscation and denial were the default positions of the latter, Martin has followed in a trend visible in other similar powerful state or quasi-state centres of abuse like armies and secret police services in liberalising societies in realising the justice and psychosocial healing that can flow from such inquiries. It is regrettable that other dioceses have not been as pro-active on the issue. The victim’s group One in Four have urged full publication of the report in due course.

Ireland cited in Guttmacher Institute report on global abortion trends

October 14, 2009 3 comments

guttmacher-smA rather curious survey by the Guttmacher Institute (a pro-availability of abortion non-profit organization) has cited Ireland and Poland (which in 1997 re-instated law outlawing abortion except when mother’s life at risk or she had been raped) as the only developed countries in the world where there is not adequate access to abortion, presumably because it is not legal in those countries. While there seems little purpose in re-igniting a debate that sends Irish people on both sides into fits of apoplectic fury (another referendum may be an inevitability if a future FG/Labour coalition achieves a sizeable majority and can thereby avoid destablisation) , it does signifying how far behind/ahead of the rest of our cohorts in the OECD are in this regard, and for that alone, it is worth noting. The Report itself is briefly mentioned in both the Irish Times and the BBC.

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