News Release

For International Criminal Court, U.S. criminal defense bar wants fairness, even if United States is not a party

NACDL representatives participate in formation of International Criminal Bar 

Washington, DC (June 21, 2002) -- Leaders from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers are fighting to make sure defendants in the new International Criminal Court will be treated fairly, no matter what countries are involved.

"The International Criminal Court will begin operating July 1," said Nancy Hollander, of Albuquerque, a past president of NACDL who serves on the 30-member steering committee guiding formation of the International Criminal Bar. "The International Criminal Bar is necessary to ensure that an independent and truly international body will represent counsel before the ICC."

Hollander was one of four NACDL representatives at the meeting at which the ICB was formed this past weekend in Montreal. NACDL's International Affairs Committee chair, Professor Speedy Rice of Gonzaga University, committee member Dan Arshack of New York, and NACDL board member and criminal defense ethics expert John Wesley Hall, Jr., of Little Rock also took part. They were among the 350 lawyers from 48 countries and 68 international, regional, and national bars and numerous non-governmental organizations from around the world who attended.

Addressing the Montreal conference, Hollander told the international assembly that defendants in the ICC "will be people who will be hated, and the lawyers who represent them will be hated. But let it never be said that an accused appeared before the International Criminal Court without a lawyer by his or her side."

NACDL is a sponsoring organization for the ICB, along with the International Criminal Defence Attorneys Association, an affiliated organization which uses NACDL's Washington, D.C., office as its U.S. headquarters, and several other bar associations from around the world.

"The right to a fair trial is there on paper," said Elise Groulx, president of ICDAA. "We want to make sure that these rights are not only paper rights."

The ICB Steering Committee will meet again in Paris in November to finalize a constitution and to draft a budget and disciplinary code. 

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NACDL Communications Department

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.