The Hague 2019

International Criminal Court, The Office of The Prosecutor, The Hague

This was the second visit by the Inns of Court College of Advocacy to train members of the Office of The Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC). As before it was at the invitation of Ben Gumpert Q.C., a member of the English Bar who is part of the Office, and whose hard work throughout contributed significantly to the success of the training.

The members of the Office were drawn from all positions and backgrounds, with trainees who had worked in a range of jurisdictions globally, from Canada to Cambodia and across Europe. Their current roles ranged from disclosure officers to trial lawyers, but all threw themselves into the training.

The central advocacy exercise was novel for all involved and focused on the use of geo-location evidence drawn from social media, videos and examination of mapping to track suspects in cases of state wrongdoing. The experts, acting as witnesses, knew their subject in almost too much detail, and trainees acquitted themselves admirably in presenting and analysing the complicated evidence.

The facilities at the ICC were also deserving of mention, with several groups able to use one of the main courtrooms, where advocates could practise their questioning within the vast space required for the ICC’s trials.  Video replays enjoyed the benefit of professional filming, with footage switching seamlessly from advocate to witness.

It was also in the courtroom that the trainers delivered lectures on examination-in-chief and cross-examination, with Sarah Whitehouse Q.C. and Michelle Heeley Q.C. providing the benefit of their experience, whilst Robin Sellers and Saul Herman added a certain amount of comic relief with a demonstration of questioning using the less than weighty charge of ‘having no dress sense’. Fortunately, no verdict was delivered.

The panel discussion that followed was also of interest for both the trainees and the trainers, as knowledge of advocacy techniques was exchanged and compared against the still evolving court procedures within the ICC.

Overall, the trip was a very successful training event, and, it is hoped, was a useful exchange of knowledge for both trainees and trainers.

The ICCA would like to extend its thanks to Ben Gumpert QC for the invitation, and the ICCA’s Rebecca Goreham who coordinated the trip, as well as acknowledging the contributions made by all our trainers: Trip Leader, Sarah Whitehouse QC along with Ali Bajwa QC, Michelle Heeley QC, Gelaga King, Robin Sellers, Faisel Sadiq, Minka Braun and Saul Herman.