The secure CJSM email is:

iain.edwards@1mcb.cjsm.net

Iain Edwards recognised as “an international criminal law specialist who is praised for his approach with clients and his strong advocacy.”

Chambers & Partners (UK Bar) 2017

“An exceptionally accomplished practitioner in the field, who genuinely thrives on his feet in the courtroom.”

Legal 500, 2017

Iain Edwards identified as “ethical and very meticulous in his cross-examination”, “very hard-working and shows great initiative”.

Chambers & Partners (UK Bar) 2017

“Unflappable in court. He puts everyone in the courtroom at ease whilst at the same time remaining focused, thorough and succinct.”

Legal 500 (UK Bar) 2021

“A respected practitioner who attracts praise for his deep knowledge of international criminal law.”

Chambers & Partners (UK Bar) 2021

Iain Edwards “has spent a considerable amount of time representing individuals accused of genocide and crimes against humanity”.

Chambers & Partners (UK Bar) 2017

“An international criminal law specialist who is praised for his approach with clients and his strong advocacy.”

Chambers & Partners (UK Bar) 2017

“A star in the field of international crime.”

Legal 500 2020

“Ethical and very meticulous in his cross-examination.”

Chambers & Partners (UK Bar) 2017

“Very hard-working and shows great initiative.”

Chambers & Partners (UK Bar) 2017

“Has spent a considerable amount of time representing individuals accused of genocide and crimes against humanity”.

Chambers & Partners (UK Bar) 2017

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 before domestic or international 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 seven years, he has been one of a small handful of barristers ranked by Chambers and Partners as a leading junior in international criminal law, and by The Legal 500 as a Tier 1 leading junior in international crime and extradition. 

Iain is currently assigned as defence counsel before the International Criminal Court  in The Hague. His client is alleged to be a notorious commander of the Arab militia in Darfur, Sudan commonly known as the Janjaweed. He is charged with 31 counts of murder, rape, forcible transfer, persecution and torture as crimes against humanity, and numerous war crimes, all arising out of the conflict in West Darfur between August 2003 and April 2004. 

Iain is also assigned for the defence of a client on appeal in a multi-hander contempt case before the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in Arusha, Tanzania. In addition, Iain represents a client who was granted early release from his sentence by the Mechanism, in his efforts to be permanently resettled in a safe country.

Iain has a developing interest in all areas of national and international sanctions work, including before the UN’s Ombudsperson to the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, and under the UK’s new Magnitsky regime introduced through the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020. 

Iain is accredited by the Bar Standards Board to undertake public access work. 

Crime

Iain is an extremely experienced criminal barrister, both at trial and on appeal. 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.

Iain most recently appeared before the Court of Appeal in the widely-reported case of R v Chin-Charles [2019] EWCA Crim 1140 in which the Court provided guidance to sentencing judges on the length, nature and structure of sentencing remarks (see also Archbold 2022, 5A-369 and 7-135).

Iain is developing a strong practice in extradition. He was instructed as junior counsel for Charles Munyaneza in his proceedings following a second request from Rwanda in respect of allegations of genocide and crimes against humanity.  The client prevailed at both first instance and on appeal to the High Court: Government of Rwanda v Nteziryayo & others [2017] EWHC 1912 (Admin). See also VB, CU, CM and EN v Westminster Magistrates’ Court [2014] EWHC 889 (Admin)(closed material procedure in extradition proceedings).

Iain also has considerable experience representing prisoners in all types of disciplinary and Parole Board hearings, including recall and lifer cases.

International criminal law

Iain has a long-standing academic and professional interest in international criminal and international human rights law. He is currently assigned as defence counsel before the International Criminal Court in The Hague. His client is alleged to be a notorious commander of the Arab militia in Darfur, Sudan commonly known as the Janjaweed. He is charged with 31 counts of murder, rape, forcible transfer, persecution and torture as crimes against humanity, and numerous war crimes.  

Iain is also assigned for the defence of a client on appeal in a multi-hander contempt case before the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in Arusha, Tanzania. In addition, Iain represents a client, who was granted early release from his sentence by the Mechanism, in his efforts to be permanently resettled in a safe country. 

Iain was assigned as (ad hoc) counsel defending the alleged de facto chief of the Islamic police in Timbuktu, Mali, before the ICC. He previously defended the former head of the Serbian state security service before the Mechanism in The Hague in his retrial on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Between 2012 and 2016, he defended Mustafa Badreddine before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in a trial relating to the assassination of the former Prime Minister of Lebanon, Rafik Hariri. 

Between 2009 and 2012, Iain 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. 

Iain is included on the lists of eligible defence counsel before the International Criminal Court (both defence and victims), the Kosovo Specialist Chamber, the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (both defence and amicus curiae Prosecutor), the Corps spécial d’avocats, of the Special Criminal Court of Central African Republic, and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. He is also on the list of approved counsel before the UN’s Ombudsperson to the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee. 

Cases

  • Prosecutor v Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman, ICC-02/05-01/20 (2021 to date, International Criminal Court): Iain is defending Mr Abd-Al-Rahman, accused of having been a notorious commander of the Arab militia in Darfur, Sudan commonly known as the Janjaweed. He is charged with 31 counts including murder, rape, forcible transfer, persecution and torture as crimes against humanity, and numerous war crimes, all arising out of the conflict in West Darfur between August 2003 and April 2004. The case is of historical significance: it is the first to be referred to the ICC by the UN Security Council. Sudan is not a party to the Court’s Statute, which has provided a unique opportunity for the defence to advance novel jurisdictional challenges. It is also the first ICC trial to deal with the conflict in Darfur. The case is enormous in terms of its seriousness and scope, and the prosecution will call or otherwise rely on approximately 125 witnesses.
  • Prosecutor v Marie Rose Fatuma & others, MICT-18-116 (2019 to date, International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals): Iain is defending Marie Rose Fatuma (at trial, and now on appeal), one of five persons accused of contempt of court by pressuring and bribing witnesses to change their evidence in the context of review proceedings brought by Augustin Ngirabatware, the former Minister of Planning in the 1994 Rwandan interim government.
  • Prosecutor v Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud, ICC-01/12-01/18 (2021-2022, International Criminal Court): Iain represented Mr Al-Hassan on an ad hoc basis towards the end of the prosecution case and during the victims’ case. Mr Al-Hassan is an alleged member of Ansar Eddine and the former de facto chief of the Islamic police in Timbuktu, charged with 13 counts including torture, rape and forced marriages as crimes against humanity, and numerous war crimes, between April 2012 and January 2013 in the north of Mali.
  • Prosecutor v Jovica Stanišić & Franko Simatović, MICT-15-96 (20172020, International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals): Iain was assigned as defence counsel for Jovica Stanišić, who was the head of the Serbian state security service within the Ministry of Internal Affairs from 1991 to 1998. He was jointly charged with persecution, murder, deportation and forcible transfer as crimes against humanity, and murder as a war crime. The client was retried after he was acquitted on all counts before the ICTY. The case was temporally and geographically broad in scope, involving crimes allegedly 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 Salim Jamil 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 was the first international criminal tribunal of its kind to try terrorism as a distinct crime. It was also the first international tribunal to try defendants in their absence since the Nazi war crimes trials at Nuremberg.  The Prosecution described Mr Badreddine as “a senior military commander of vast experience and importance in Hezbollah and the history of the Resistance movement.” Essentially, Mr Badreddine was accused of being the mastermind and driving force behind the attack. Proceedings against the client were terminated after he was found to have been killed in Damascus, Syria in May 2016.
  • Prosecutor v Jean 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 Gaspard 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 Dominique 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.

Pro bono

  • Prosecutor v Bemba, Kilolo & others, ICC-01/05-01/13 (2015, International Criminal Court): Assigned as pro bono independent counsel to advise on potential conflict of interest of defence counsel for Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo.

International human rights

Iain has a long-standing academic and professional interest in international criminal and international human rights law. The tireless defence of his clients’ human rights has been a constant feature of Iain’s practice at home and abroad for many years, often pro bono. In recent years Iain has been invited to speak at numerous international conferences, particularly on fair trial standards. 

Cases

 

  • In the matter of Alphonse Nteziryayo & others MICT-22-124 (2022 to date, International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals): Iain represents pro bono Mr Nteziryayo, the former préfet of Butare prefecture, Rwanda. In 2016, the client was granted early release from his sentence of 25 years’ imprisonment imposed by the ICTR for direct and public incitement to commit genocide. After his release, he spent over 5½ years in a safe house in Arusha, unable to be reunited with his family in France but unable to return to Rwanda. In December 2021 he was relocated by the Mechanism to Niger under an international agreement with the UN. However, after only three weeks, Niger notified Mr Nteziryayo that he was to be expelled along with seven other men in a similar situation. Iain is assisting the client in his efforts to be evacuated from Niger and permanently resettled in a safe country.
  • A petitioner before the Ombudsman to the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee (2022 to date): Iain represents pro bono a petitioner from Tunisia, alleged to be an Al-Qaida facilitator and financial supporter, seeking delisting from the UN Security Council’s ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions List.
  • ‘Abd al-Malik Muhammad Yusuf before the Ombudsman to the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee (2021-2022): Iain represented pro bono Mr ‘Abd al-Malik in his successful petition to be delisted from the UN Security Council’s ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions List.
  • Prosecutor v Victoire Ingabire & others (2010-2013): Iain defended Victoire Ingabire, the chairperson of a coalition of Rwandan opposition parties, before the High Court of Rwanda pro bono. Ms Ingabire was charged 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, after which the sentence was increased. Mrs Ingabire’s case attracted considerable attention from, among others, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and FIDH, and featured widely in the international media.

Pro bono

Iain is advising other Rwandan nationals in the UK pro bono in relation to High Court actions against the Home Office. 

 

Legal directories

“He is a professional, courteous and hard-hitting barrister who makes you proud of the British Bar when you see him in court.” (Chambers & Partners (UK Bar) 2022)

“A composed and highly competent advocate. Very experienced in international criminal law matters with a concomitant comprehensive understanding of this area of the law.” (The Legal 500 (UK Bar) 2022 – Tier 1)

“A highly regarded practitioner who attracts praise for his deep knowledge of international criminal law.”

“Excellent with witnesses.” (Chambers & Partners (UK Bar) 2021)

Unflappable in court. He puts everyone in the courtroom at ease whilst at the same time remaining focused, thorough and succinct. Mr. Edwards remains at the top of his game and is a stalwart in international criminal proceedings.” (The Legal 500 (UK Bar) 2021 – Tier 1)

“He excels at combining domestic and international law. One of those advocates that has it all, he is very persuasive.” (Chambers and Partners (UK Bar) 2020)

“A star in the field of international crime.” (The Legal 500 (UK Bar) 2020 – Tier 1)

“A very calm and composed advocate, who is incredibly experienced, very knowledgeable on the law and a good strategist.” (Chambers and Partners (UK Bar) 2019)

“A composed advocate, his cross-examination is controlled and gentlemanly.” (The Legal 500 (UK Bar) 2018-2019 – Tier 1)

“Very level-headed and composed, he has a great deal of experience which he brings to bear when formulating his strategic decisions.” (Chambers and Partners (UK Bar) 2018)

“An exceptionally accomplished practitioner in the field, who genuinely thrives on his feet in the courtroom.” (The Legal 500 (UK Bar) 2017 – Tier 1)

“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)

“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)

Education

  • 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 III, France (1995)

Speaking events, training & seminars

  • Guest lecturer, Université Paris-Panthéon-Assas: the defence before international criminal jurisdictions (The Hague, March 2022)
  • Guest lecturer, European Law Students’ Association, University of Groningen: international criminal justice: from prosecution to defence (Groningen, February 2022)
  • Judicial trainer/mentor, UK Embassy project: Iraq counter-terrorism prosecutions and investigations (Erbil, December 2020-April 2021)
  • Guest lecturer, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam: fair trial rights and challenges for the defence (Amsterdam, January 2021)
  • Speaker, Seventh International Meeting of the Defence: developments at the IRMCT (The Hague, November 2019)
  • Speaker, Eleventh Legal Symposium – IACI: terrorism as a core international crime (The Hague, November 2019)
  • Guest lecturer, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam: fair trial standards in international criminal law (Amsterdam, July 2019)
  • Speaker, Sixth International Meeting of the Defence: retrials before international criminal tribunals (The Hague, November 2018)
  • Guest lecturer, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam: the right to a fair trial in theory and in practice (Amsterdam, July 2018)
  • Moderator, 20th Anniversary of the Rome Statute: reflections from the perspective of the defence (The Hague, June 2018)
  • Trainer, Seminar for Judges from Francophone Africa, TMC Asser Institute: challenges of prosecuting sexual and gender-based crimes (The Hague, February 2018)
  • Guest lecturer, École Nationale de la Magistrature: characteristics of the international criminal process (Paris, November 2017)
  • Speaker, Fifth International Meeting of the Defence: a common code of professional conduct (Nuremberg, November 2017)
  • Trainer, ICCBA/ICC: vulnerable witnesses, reparations & advocacy (The Hague, June 2017)
  • Co-organiser, Penn State University/ ICCBA: international criminal trial advocacy programme, (The Hague, June 2017)
  • Speaker, Congress of the Fédération des Barreaux d’Europe: achievements of the ICC and other tribunals (The Hague, June 2017)
  • Organiser, ICCBA inaugural training day (The Hague, April 2017)
  • Trainer, Kosova Bar Association international criminal law programme: pre-trial issues (Pristina, April 2017)
  • Speaker, IBA The World in Crisis Conference: refugees as victims of slavery and other crimes (The Hague, February 2017)
  • Speaker, Fourth International Meeting of Defence Offices: day-to-day challenges for the defence in court (London, November 2016)
  • Trainer, ADC-ICTY: cross-examination, hostile witnesses, submissions (The Hague, September 2016)
  • Trainer, Avocats Sans Frontières/ICC: role of duty counsel, ethics (The Hague, June 2016)
  • Speaker, CRDH/Université Panthéon-Assas: state cooperation with the defence (Paris, June 2016)
  • Speaker, École de Guerre/STL: the defence in in absentia criminal proceedings (The Hague, January 2016)
  • Chair, Third Meeting of International Defence Offices: recent developments for defence offices (Geneva, October 2015)
  • Speaker, Conference on International Criminal Law: the defence before international criminal tribunals (Dakar, July 2015)
  • Speaker, Bar of The Hague/STL: challenges for the defence in in absentia proceedings (The Hague, February 2015)
  • Speaker, International Symposium on the Legacy of the ICTR: fair trial rights in Rwanda (Arusha, November 2014)
  • Speaker, Human Rights Defenders Focal Point: human rights issues in the trial of Victoire Ingabire (Kigali, May 2013)
  • Speaker, Bar of Liège/BPICB: ethics before the ad hoc international criminal tribunals from a defence perspective (Liège, February 2013)

Appointments

  • Chair, Professional Standards Advisory Committee, International Criminal Court Bar Association (2016-2017)
  • Chair, Training Committee, International Criminal Court Bar Association (2016-2017)

Languages

  • French (fluent)
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