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Wednesday, 12 September 2012, 1:00PM
Barnard's Inn Hall

International Criminal Tribunals: Experiments? Works in progress? Institutions that are here for good, or maybe not?

Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice QC

In the last twenty years several international courts have been established to try crimes committed in armed conflicts.  Public expectation of what these courts may achieve is high; but are the courts living up to that expectation?  Is the public expectation realistic and part of a liberal tradition; may it be seen as 'judicial romantic', according to courts capabilities they can never have?  Are the courts always bound to be tainted by political influence that makes it probable they will ultimately fail?  What sense can be made of the permanent International Criminal Court - the ICC - when Russia, China and the USA decline to accept its jurisdiction for their own citizens but can, as permanent members of the Security Council of the UN, refer individuals from other non-member states to the ICC for trial?  And would it matter if the ICC failed?  Has enough already been done to chart a way ahead that will allow the law a proper role in the service of countries, or communities in countries, at war?  In any event, are war crimes trials the best partner of politics in the search for peace?  Are there times when it may be better to let history go in the interests of a better safer future?

This is a part of Sir Geoffrey Nice's 2012/13 series of lectures as Gresham Professor of Law. The other lectures in this series are as follows:
    The end of Slobodan Milošević
    The ICC and Africa
    Legal Process as a Tool to Rewrite History
    State Involvement in War Crimes Trials
    Regulation at home, but not abroad

Speaker_GeoffreyNice_370x370.jpg

Sir Geoffrey Nice QC has practised as a barrister since 1971.  He worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia – the ICTY – between 1998 and 2006 and led the prosecution of Slobodan Milošević, former President of Serbia. Much of his work since has been connected to cases before the permanent International Criminal Court – Sudan, Kenya, Libya – or  pro bono for victims groups – Iran, Burma, North Korea – whose cases cannot get to any international court.  He works for several related NGO’s and lectures and commentates in the media in various countries on international war crimes issues.  He has been a part-time judge since 1984 sitting at the Old Bailey and has sat as judge in other jurisdictions, tribunals and inquiries.  Between 2009 and 2012 he was Vice-Chair of the Bar Standards Board, the body that regulates barristers.

The six free public law lectures for 2013/14 Sir Geoffrey delivered as Gresham Professor of Law included four lectures on how legal process can fail the citizen in armed conflict, one explaining advocacy work in courts, and a final lecture covering recent legal changes.

The first five of his 2012-13 lectures dealt with issues arising from the work of international criminal courts and tribunals.  The sixth contrasted the practice of law in international criminal courts where there is little or no effective regulation of lawyers and judges with the present working practices of the English Bar.

Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice QC continues his Law series in the 2015/16 academic year, entitled 'Law and Lawyers - not all bad?'.

Professor Nice's previous lecture series are as follows:

2015/16 Law and Lawyers - not all bad?
2014/15 From Human Rights to Srebrenica
2013/14 Law Lectures by Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice QC
2012/13 International Criminal Courts

All of Professor Nice's past Gresham lectures can be accessed here.

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12 September 2012

International Criminal Tribunals: Experiments? Works in progress? Institutions that are here for good, or maybe not?
Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice QC

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