Catriona Murdoch attended the conference in Montreal having successfully applied through the International professional development and legal practice development grant programme. The Criminal Bar Association (“CBA”) funded Catriona’s attendance.
The conference, the third of its kind, was presided over by Andre Tremblay, a Canadian attorney and seasoned counsel at the International Criminal Court for Rwanda (“ICTR”). The title of the conference largely set the tenor for the speakers and the floor, frequently resulting in a passionate critique of the utility and mandate of the International Criminal Court (“ICC”) and the ICTR. There was a strong focus on the ICTR with a large number of Rwandans present, giving force to the arguments and questions raised.
The speakers were a mix of practitioners, academics, journalists and activists. The topics covered included the purported presumption of guilt present at the ICTR, unfairness in the evidential and disclosure regimes, prosecutorial selectivity and the transfer system whereby cases are now being tried back in Rwanda and in Canada under the universal jurisdiction. It was continually emphasised by practitioners that fair trial rights at the ICTR were routinely ignored, calling into question the legitimacy of the convictions and system as a whole.
A full article co-authored by Catriona and Joe Holmes will feature in the next Criminal Bar Quarterly publication.