A strong defence is a key component of a fair trial. The Defence teams represent and protect the rights of the defendant (suspect and accused).
Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty after a trial; they are entitled to public, fair proceedings conducted impartially and in full equality. The Rome Statute grants the defendant the right to be informed of the charges, to have time and facilities to prepare their defence and to be tried without undue delay, to freely choose a lawyer, to examine witnesses and present evidence, not to be compelled to testify or to confess guilt, to remain silent, to receive from the Prosecutor evidence which he or she believes shows or tends to show the innocence of the accused, or to mitigate the guilt of the accused, to be able to follow the proceedings in a language he or she fully understands, and therefore to have an interpreter and translations as required, and more.
The Court's legal aid system ensures that the reasonable cost of legal representation is paid by the Court for persons who do not have sufficient means to pay for it.
Report on the operation of the Court's legal aid system and proposals for its amendment
Counsel for the Defence are independent and therefore are not ICC staff. Defence teams must be qualified to practice before the Court by applying to the relevant lists created and maintained by the Court:
The Registry provides a number of services to Defence teams, including facilitating the protection of confidentiality, providing support during the investigations activities conducted in the field, assisting arrested persons, persons interviewed by the Prosecution and the accused to obtain legal advice and the assistance of legal counsel. Upon request, the Court may provide temporary and equipped office space for the external Defence teams to prepare for cases, and other logistical support.
Defence teams also benefit from the general support and assistance provided by the Registry.
International Criminal Court Bar Association
International Criminal Court Bar Association (ICCBA) is an independent, professional association representing the interests of Counsel and legal Support Staff who represent victims, defendants and other actors (such as witnesses) before the ICC. The ICCBA serves as a collective voice for its membership, and provides them a range of support and services, as well as acting as a forum for discussion on all matters pertaining to the Court. The ICCBA's operations are primarily funded by the subscriptions paid by its members, and it is governed by an elected President (currently Karim A.A. Khan QC) and Executive Council, with eight elected standing committees responsible for specific issues and activities.