International criminal law

International criminal law is a relatively young but fast-developing area of law. It is a highly specialised division of public international law which saw its practical genesis in the work of the International Military Tribunals at Nuremberg and Tokyo after World War II.

The crimes that fall within the ambit of international criminal law are, classically, genocide (the intentional destruction, in whole or in part, of a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such), crimes against humanity (including murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, torture and rape when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population) and war crimes (including grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and violations of the laws or customs of war). The sources can be found in international treaties, customary international law, international jurisprudence and academic writings.

International criminal law developed enormously with the establishment of the ad hoc UN international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and hybrid tribunals trying mass crimes committed in Sierra Leone, Cambodia, East Timor and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In 2002, the permanent International Criminal Court was founded in The Hague, Netherlands. Also based in The Hague are the Special Tribunal for Lebanon – the first international tribunal of its kind to try terrorism as a distinct crime – and the new Kosovo Specialist Chambers.

International criminal law operates at the frontier of law and geopolitics, human rights and war. These cases are among the most complex and complicated a barrister can undertake. They require expertise, dedication, passion and patience, all of which can be provided by the highly experienced practitioners at 1MCB.

Iain Edwards is one of a small handful of barristers ranked by Chambers and Partners as a leading junior in international crime. He is currently assigned as counsel 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 to 2016 he was counsel representing 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.

Gwawr Thomas  has previously worked within the Prosecution Division of the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court; has interned at the Legal Aid Department in Lilongwe, Malawi; and has advised Reprieve on a number of issues arising from the resentencing of those prisoners benefiting from the decision in Kafantayeni & Others v The Attorney General of Malawi (Constitutional Case No. 12 of 2005), by which the mandatory death sentence was ruled unconstitutional.

Tanya Murshed has worked in Uganda since 2013 and is the Founder of Evolve – Foundation for International Legal Assistance. Other members of 1MCB Chambers also support Evolve’s work by acting pro bono in appeals against conviction and/or sentence for a number of defendants held in Luzira Prison’s condemned section – Uganda’s death row.

Ishan Dave  has advised companies and charitable entities all over the world (including India, Tanzania, Mexico, Colombia and Panama) on a range of topics including integrity compliance, anti-bribery and corruption and international human rights.