Follow Iain on Twitter: @iain_edwards
LL.M. Public International Law (specialising in international criminal law, UN law, and international human rights law), University College London (1999)
LL.B. (Hons.) Law with French Law and Language, University of East Anglia (1996)
DEUF (Diploma in French Law), Université Jean Moulin, Lyon (1995)
“He is an excellent barrister, who is very hard-working and shows great initiative.”
“Ethical and very meticulous in his cross-examination.”
- Chambers and Partners, UK Bar 2017
“Handles ICC matters, and is noted for his involvement in the Lebanon and Rwanda tribunal proceedings. He has particular skill in advising on genocide and terrorism charges.”
“He is a very good and very polished advocate.”
- Chambers and Partners UK Bar 2016
Iain is a seasoned and compassionate barrister specialising in serious crime. He is a fighter who always goes the extra mile for his clients, whether in England and Wales, or before overseas jurisdictions. Iain represents defendants charged with the gravest of offences and has a particular expertise in international crimes, firearms, and immigration related cases. He is developing a strong practice in extradition. Iain prides himself on his meticulous preparation and intelligent trial strategy. Clients regularly comment favourably on his down-to-earth, unpretentious approach.
Since 2009, Iain has divided his busy defence practice between domestic and international criminal work. For the last two years, he has been one of a small handful of barristers ranked by Chambers and Partners as a leading junior in international crime. He is currently assigned before the UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals in The Hague for the defence of the former head of the Serbian state security service, on trial for crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Iain is accredited to be instructed directly by members of the public in certain types of cases. For further information, please contact his clerk Adam Brosnan.
Iain is an extremely experienced criminal barrister. He represents defendants charged with the most serious offences of violence, murder, public disorder, rape and sexual assaults, armed robbery, complex fraud, and drugs trafficking and supply. He has particular expertise in terrorism, international crimes and firearms cases. His background as a practitioner in immigration and asylum law enables him to bring an in-depth knowledge to people-smuggling and illegal entry cases, and cases which feature other immigration or deportation issues. Iain has a special enthusiasm for cases which provide the opportunity to advance abuse of process arguments.
Some notable cases in which Iain has acted alone include:
Iain has a long-standing academic and professional interest in international criminal and international human rights law. Iain is currently assigned before the UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals in The Hague for the defence of the former head of the Serbian state security service, on trial for crimes against humanity and war crimes.
From 2012 he represented the rights and interests of a senior Hezbollah commander before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. Between 2009 and 2012, he was a legal adviser in three defence teams representing clients charged with genocide and crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania.
He is included on the lists of eligible defence counsel before the International Criminal Court (both defence and victims), the UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
Iain is regularly invited to provide training and to speak at international conferences, particularly on defence issues and fair trial standards.
Prosecutor v Stanišić & Simatović, MICT-15-96 (2017 to date) - Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals. Iain is assigned by the Registrar for the defence of Jovica Stanišić, who was the head of the Serbian state security service within the Ministry of Internal Affairs from 1991 to 1998. He is jointly charged with persecution, murder, deportation and forcible transfer as crimes against humanity, and murder as a war crime. The client is being retried after he was acquitted on all counts before the ICTY. The case is temporally and geographically broad in scope, involving alleged crimes committed against Croat, Bosnian Muslim, Bosnian Croat and other non-Serb civilian populations within large areas of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina between 1991 and 1995.
Prosecutor v Ayyash & others, STL-11-01 (2012-2016) - Special Tribunal for Lebanon. Iain represented Mr Badreddine who was charged, together with four co-defendants, with the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in Beirut, the murder of 21 other persons, and associated acts of terrorism. The STL is the first international criminal tribunal of its kind to try terrorism as a distinct crime. It is also the first international tribunal to try defendants in their absence since the Nazi war crimes trials at Nuremberg. After reports that Mr Badreddine had been killed in Damascus in May 2016, the defence successfully persuaded the Appeals Chamber that there existed sufficient evidence of his death. Consequently, proceedings were terminated against Mr Badreddine without prejudice and with his presumption of innocence remaining intact.
Prosecutor v Victoire Ingabire & others (2010-2013) - Iain was instructed to defend Victoire Ingabire, the chairperson of a coalition of Rwandan opposition parties, charged before the High Court of Rwanda with terrorism, genocide ideology, discrimination, and disseminating false rumours against the government. This was a strategically challenging and politically sensitive case, attracting a great deal of media attention in Rwanda and internationally. All four co-accused pleaded guilty and gave evidence for the Prosecution. Legal arguments were advanced based on international human rights law (problems of jurisdiction, non-retroactivity, definitions of international crimes and terrorism) and fair trial norms. Mrs Ingabire was acquitted in October 2012 of four of the six counts after one of the longest criminal trials to have been heard in Rwanda. Appeals were heard before the Supreme Court of Rwanda between March and July 2013. Mrs Ingabire’s case attracted considerable attention from, among others, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and FIDH, and featured widely in the international media.
Prosecutor v Uwinkindi, ICTR-2001-75 (2010-2012) - International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The client was charged with genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity. In December 2011 the Appeals Chamber upheld a decision to refer his case to Rwanda for trial before the High Court.
Prosecutor v Kanyarukiga, ICTR-2002-78 (2010) - International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The client was charged with genocide, complicity in genocide and extermination. After trial many specific allegations were found to be not proved but he was convicted of planning genocidal killings and of extermination.
Prosecutor v Ntawukulilyayo, ICTR-2005-82 (2009-2010) - International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The first sous-préfet to be indicted before the ICTR, the client was charged with genocide, complicity in genocide, and incitement to commit genocide. Most of the specific allegations were found to be not proved after trial. This was a rare case where the Trial Chamber convicted by a majority. On appeal, the client was acquitted of ordering acts of genocide and his sentence reduced accordingly.
Iain has over 16 years' experience representing clients fleeing persecution. He has represented many hundreds of asylum seekers from a wide range of countries on appeal before the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration & Asylum Chamber) and Upper Tribunal. He also advises on judicial reviews of immigration decisions with a fast-developing expertise in High Court actions involving refusals of naturalisation applications on "bad character" grounds. He has a particular interest in deportation appeals.
Iain’s expertise in domestic and international criminal law, coupled with his experience of the legal and human rights climate in many different countries - particularly in Central and East Africa - makes him an attractive and natural choice of advocate in complex extradition cases. Iain has represented requested persons both at first instance and on appeal before the High Court.
Government of Rwanda v VB & others (2013 to date) - Iain is instructed as junior counsel for Charles Munyaneza, a former Rwandan bourgmestre accused of having participated in the Rwandan genocide of 1994. In December 2015, the Deputy Senior District Judge discharged all the requested persons from extradition after proceedings that lasted more than two years. The case focussed on the ability of the Rwandan criminal justice system to guarantee minimum fair trial rights for those accused of genocide. A huge volume of material was adduced and evidence was called from experts and lawyers specialising in Rwanda. The case also involved an interlocutory judicial review addressing the issue of anonymous witness evidence which went to the Supreme Court. The Government of Rwanda has appealed the discharge; the High Court heard the appeal in November and December 2016.
Iain joined Chambers as a pupil in 2001. Before coming to the Bar he worked as an asylum caseworker in what was one of the largest immigration solicitors’ firms in England. Until he took the decision to focus on and develop his criminal defence practice, about half of Iain's work was in the field of asylum and immigration, and associated human rights law.
Iain worked for REDRESS, a London-based non-governmental organisation involved in seeking reparations for victims of torture from around the world.
Iain is the chair of the ICCBA's Professional Standards and Advisory Committee, and its Training Committee.
Iain speaks fluent French and poor Dutch. He has lived and worked in France, Japan, Tanzania, Rwanda and the Netherlands. His interests include travel, cycling, scuba diving, good food, music and theatre.
Criminal Bar Association, International Criminal Court Bar Association, International Bar Association (War Crimes Committee), ADC-ICTY, Amnesty International, Liberty, American Civil Liberties Union, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers