On December 3, 2022 the Association of Defence Counsel practicing before International Courts and Tribunals (‘ADC-ICT”) will be holding its 20th Anniversary Annual Conference at The Hague, Netherlands. This event brings together some of the most experienced and preeminent practitioners of international law and domestic criminal law from around the world. This year’s conference is entitled – "ADC at 20: Two Decades of International Criminal Defence". The ADC-ICT is the recognized bar association of legal practitioners at the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, and the predecessor International Criminal Tribunal for the Fmr. Yugoslavia. The ADC-ICT is a not-for-profit organization registered in the Netherlands 20 years ago, and is a well-recognized and respected organization in the European legal scene and profession. All three directors of the International Innocence Initiative are ADC-ICT members, and officers or past officers in the ADC-ICT’s governing bodies.
The International Innocence Initiative is partnering with the ADC-ICT and is co-sponsoring this year’s Annual Conference. Our vice-president, Dragan Ivetić, will be a moderator for one of the three panels of speakers, and will also be co-hosting one of the side events at the Conference with the ADC-ICT’s president, Marie O’Leary. The side event will be focusing on Early Release Decisions and Practice at International Courts and Tribunals. Early release in the context of international law refers to the process by which persons are eligible to be released prior to serving their full sentence if, along with good behavior in prison, they have demonstrated rehabilitation. In Europe each jurisdiction has its own rules governing eligibility and the criteria needed to establish rehabilitation. At the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (“IRMCT”), the procedure inherited the previous practices at the Ad-Hoc Yugoslav and Rwandan Tribunals, whereby persons are eligible for early release and may petition for it after serving at least 2/3 of their original sentence. The prior practice was that most persons were released very soon after meeting the 2/3 threshold. However, changes were instituted in 2019, and a new regime of “conditional early release” was ushered in at the IRMCT which saw a more stringent approach to the process. Since 2019, despite dozens of applications having been filed, and despite many detainees having satisfied the 2/3 time served threshold and the previous eligibility standards, only a total of 4 cases have resulted in successful petitions where the detainee was granted “conditional” early release, 2 of which were cases wherein the individual was represented by the Innocence Initiative’s own Dragan Ivetić (one of the few attorneys who has had success in this area). Additionally, 1 detainee was released just prior to his death, on compassionate grounds. The difficulty of obtaining early release is a very current and important topic for international criminal defense practitioners, insofar as quite a few convicted persons from the Yugoslavia and Rwanda Tribunals are serving their sentences in one of 18 states across Europe and Africa (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Denmark, Poland, United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Senegal, Benin, Mali and the Netherlands). Previously, Dragan has presented a masterclass webinar (2021) and a tutorial (2017) on the topic of early release, also for the ADC-ICT.
The panel that Dragan will be moderating includes Prof. Geert Jan Knoops, a Dutch practitioner and scholar who is the Founder and Director of the Netherland's only domestic Innocence Project, and one of the founders of the European Innocence Network.
The Annual Conference will take place at the Marriot Hotel in The Hague (address: Johan de Witlaan 30, The Hague, 2517JR) and is an all-day live event. After the Conference the ADC-ICT will hold a drinks reception for all participants at “Café Victoria” (address: Prins Hendrickplein 101, The Hague, 2518JB).
Tickets are still available for the conference and can be reserved and purchased via the ADC-ICT’s website at - http://www.adcict.org/annualconference. Friday November 25, 2022 is the last day to pre-register.
This is the second major event attended by the International Innocence Initiative, following the International Bar Association’s Annual Conference in Miami, Florida earlier in November 2022.
If you would like to learn more about this ADC-ICT Conference or the ADC-ICT – please visit https://www.adc-ict.org/
If you would like to learn more about the International Innocence Initiative’s activities at the Conference, or about Early Release – contact us at email@example.com