John Cubbon (Member) Guernica 37
John is an international lawyer with many years’ experience of criminal justice and related issues arising in fragile and conflict-affected states. After practising at the Bar in crime, employment and immigration, he held legal positions in the United Nations for 19 years and since 2015 he has undertaken assignments for the UK Stabilisation Unit as a Deployable Civilian Expert. John accepts instructions in public international law, international criminal law, international humanitarian law, human rights, immigration and extradition/mutual legal assistance.
John joined Chambers in 2021. He is contributing to the defence of an accused at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers and to advice to a non-governmental organisation.
John has a firm grounding in international humanitarian law and international criminal law. For nine years he held senior legal positions in Chambers at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), where his main focus was on the preparation of draft judgements, decisions and orders and memoranda for the judges. As a Deployable Civilian Expert he advised and trained members of the Malian Armed Forces on international humanitarian law in 2018 and 2021.
Since 1996 John has frequently contributed to judicial reform, legislative drafting and institutional development. He was extensively engaged in the reform of criminal legislation in both Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. Shortly after the establishment of UNMIK he had a managerial role in the re-establishment of the prosecutorial and judicial system in Kosovo. He has also worked on reform of the justice sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
At a time when the UN Interim Administration in Kosovo had an executive mandate he performed a range of functions in criminal justice that government lawyers would ordinarily be responsible for. These concerned such matters as extradition and international legal assistance as well as sensitive individual cases often involving human rights.
John has taught adults for 40 years in a considerable variety of contexts. As well as training members of the Malian Armed Forces, he has frequently given seminars and lectures on international criminal law and transitional justice. Since 2020 he has acted as a pro bono consultant for the Truth, Reconciliation and National Unity Commission of Seychelles and he was formerly a member of the Drafting Committee of the Bar Human Rights Committee.
Before studying law John worked in health services research, including analysis of health management information and epidemiological research.
Bar Vocational Course (Council of Legal Education) in 1993
Postgraduate Diploma in Law (Dip. Law) (CPE) (City University, London) in 1992
Master of Science (MSc) in Social and Educational Research Methods (Open University: part-time) in 1987
Bachelor of Philosophy (B.Phil.) degree (postgraduate degree) in Philosophy (University of Oxford) in 1981
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Philosophy and Politics (University of Oxford) in 1979
The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple
Bar Human Rights Committee
Appointments and Awards
Admitted to the Lists of Counsel and Assistants to Counsel at the International Criminal Court Admitted to the List of Counsel (Defence/Victims) at the Kosovo Special Chambers
Member of the panel of international experts on the Council of Europe Project on Human Rights compliant criminal justice in Ukraine
Deployable Civilian Expert on the roster maintained by the Stabilisation Unit in the FCDO
‘Standards and Interpretation’ (Part II) (one of four co-authors; main author: Helene Boussard Ramos dos Santos) in International Legal Digest: Lawyers’ protection and states’ obligations (International Bar Association Human Rights Institute, 2020 https://www.ibanet.org/Human_Rights_Institute/Toolkit-on-Lawyers-at-Risk-project.aspx
Written Submission to the Joint Committee on Human Rights, Legislative Scrutiny: The Overseas Operations (Service Personnel) Bill, 8 August 2020 https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/9737/pdf/
Written Submission to the House of Commons Northern Ireland Affairs Committee on its Inquiry ‘Addressing the Legacy of Northern Ireland’s past: The UK Government’s New Proposals’, 1 June 2020 https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/5999/pdf/
‘Journalistic freedom of expression and contempt proceedings at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia’, Revue Québécoise de droit international, 31.1. (2018): 209-220 https://www.canlii.org/en/commentary/journals/28/1586/
‘John Bolton’s crusade against the ICC will leave the terrorists cheering loudest’, The Times, 20 September, 2018 https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/bolton-s-crusade-against-the-icc-will-leave-terrorists-cheering-loudest-wkjr005fd (co-author with Kirsty Brimelow QC)
‘The Effects of International Criminal Justice From a Domestic Justice Perspective’ in Eleanor Gordon (ed.) Building Justice and Security in Post-Conflict Environments: A Reader (Leicester: University of Leicester, 2014, pp.152-164 https://uolscid.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/scid-reader-2014-bookmarked.pdf
‘Diminished Responsibility and Loss of Control: The Perspective of International Criminal Law’ in Alan Reed and Michael Bohlander (eds.) Loss of Control and Diminished Responsibility: Domestic, Comparative and International Perspectives (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011), 367-383
Extradition & Mutual Legal Assistance
Rule of Law Development
Government Advisory Work
Public International Law
Atrocity Crime Prevention
International Criminal Law
Anti-Corruption & Bribery
French (working knowledge)
Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (reading ability)
Albanian (reading ability)