(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
Judges' Plenary Session adopt reforms concerning Defense Counsel Teams
On Thursday 11 and Friday 12 July, the Judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia held their regular summer Plenary Session.
Following a discussion on the Annual Report (August 2001-July 2002) to be presented later this year by the President before the United Nations General Assembly, the Judges decided to amend Rule 44 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence. Rule 44 relates to "Appointment, Qualifications and Duties of Counsel".
A DEFENCE COUNSELS ASSOCIATION
The new text of Rule 44 will require that a counsel who wishes to practice before the Tribunal must be a member of an association of defence counsels appearing at the ICTY. However, membership will only be compulsory if, and when the Registrar has recognised a particular association.
A working group consisting of four counsel (Mr. Howard Morrison from the United Kingdom, Ms. Edina Residovic from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ms. Jadranka Slokovic-Glumac from Croatia and Mr. Tomislav Visnjic from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) have prepared a draft statute for such an association, which was adopted by the Plenary as a possible model for the contemplated association.
The Judges and the Registrar do consider that the objectives of the said Defence Counsel Association should include the provision of training for counsel, assistance with legal research in the Tribunal’s case-law, monitoring of professional conduct
The Judges also substantially amended the Code of Professional Conduct for Defence Counsel at the ICTY. The Code has been extended from 23 to 50 Articles, with amendments and additions including an explicit prohibition of fee-splitting, more detailed rules on conflicts of interest and a disciplinary regime with disciplinary bodies in which defence counsel participate as judges.
A MORE DETAILED DEONTOLOGY
These reforms represent an important achievement in the development of the Tribunal. The defence is a party essential for the respect of the accused’s rights and the proper functioning of the Tribunal. The strengthening of the Defence position in a culturally diverse environment require more self-governance, more reciprocal assistance between counsel, and a more detailed deontology adapted to the specific requirements of the proceedings before the Tribunal.
The Judges further approved a small number of changes to the Directive on Assignment of Defence Counsel, including a further simplification of the legal aid payment system and a prohibition of the assignment as member of a defence team of relatives and friends of accused and/or counsel.
The full texts of the new Rules of Procedure and Evidence, the Code of Conduct and the Directive on Assignment are being edited. They will be published shortly and will enter into force seven days after publication.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
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