Self-Representation versus Assignment of Defense Counsel before International Criminal Tribunals


After examining the drafting history of Article 14 of the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which lays down a defendant's right 'to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing' - the relevant national and international case law and scholarly commentary - the author argues that the underlying purpose of the right at issue is to ensure a fair trial. This objective can best be met in cases of former leaders accused of international crimes by assigning the defendant a highly qualified attorney who is vigilantly committed to representing his client's interests. In his view, there are two main reasons why a court in international crimes trial should be able to require the defendant to work through counsel: (1) the likelihood that a defendant will act in a disruptive manner; and (2) the unique need in a complex international crimes case for an orderly trial.



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Place of Original Publication

Journal of International Criminal Justice

Publication Information

4 Journal of International Criminal Justice 31 (2006)

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COinS Michael P. Scharf Faculty Bio