Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers Co-Founder and Head of Chambers, Toby Cadman, who also serves as Committee Member for Europe on the International Bar Association War Crimes Committee, spoke at the annual conference entitled The Next Big Questions for International Criminal Justice.
Toby Cadman spoke on the panel addressing Private actors and investigations: aid or hindrance to international criminal justice? chaired by Natalie von Wistinghausen Defence Counsel Special Tribunal for Lebanon, The Hague; Co-Vice Chair, IBA War Crimes Committee and including Bill Wiley (Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA)), Alexa Koenig (Berkeley Human Rights Centre, Berkeley, California), Joe Holmes (Global Rights Compliance, The Hague) and Matthew Butt (3 Raymond Buildings, London).
The panel discussion focused on the increase of private actors in international criminal investigations and the advantages and potential dangers of these actors’ operations within the international justice field, in an attempt to draw, wherever possible, lessons learned and best practices.
Toby discussed Guernica's work and experiences in Latin America, South Asia, the Balkans and the Middle East and North Africa, focusing in particular on the work in Syria and Colombia, and the jurisdictional limits of international judicial organs and the need for more innovative approaches, such as the recent filing in relation to Forced Deportation in Syria/Jordan. He also stressed the importance of ensuring that victims are properly represented and given a stake in the process.
Toby noted that there would continue to be engagement of private actors and NGOs in the field of truth, justice and accountability, and that should be welcomed, but there was a critical need for uniform standards in the documentation of human rights abuses. In particular great care needed to be taken in the use of vulnerable witnesses, particularly children and victims of rape and torture, and the collection, storage and transportation of evidence had to be subject to strict rules of chain of custody and verification to ensure the evidence was admissible before national and international criminal courts.