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International crime and conflict

Garden Court is an established leader in the field of international criminal justice, having acted in some of the most ground-breaking cases in international criminal law to date.

Garden Court was awarded ‘Crime Set of the Year’ by the Legal 500 in 2015, and we are highly ranked for criminal law by the independent Chambers & Partners Bar Guide.

Our award-winning crime team encompasses all aspects of international and transnational criminal law.

The breadth of our experience encompasses war crimes trials, criminal proceedings in foreign jurisdictions, extradition and mutual assistance, and challenges to unfair trials before international and regional human rights tribunals.

What we do

International criminal law
Our barristers regularly work on high-profile cases involving genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. We offer unrivalled experience of criminal defence across all areas of transnational and international criminal law.

Garden Court has extensive experience of practice in all of the major international criminal tribunals, including the International Criminal Court (ICC), the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), and the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL).

Our members have been involved in the trial of Radovan Karadzic, the former President of Republika Srpska, and the admissibility proceedings before the ICC concerning the trial of Saif Gaddafi.

International crime in domestic courts
The principle of universal jurisdiction means that certain crimes may be tried in a country’s domestic courts, even though the crime may have no link to that country. Our work in this area includes applying for arrest warrants for war crimes, as well as representing victims and accused persons in the trial process.

Crime & international human rights
Garden Court has been at the cutting edge of human rights challenges in crime and conflict, and we have achieved significant successes before the European Court of Human Rights (Kaytan v Turkey), the UN Human Rights Council, and the Human Rights Advisory Panel for Kosovo (Balaj et al).

International humanitarian law
Our members offer particular expertise in the law of armed conflict. We regularly bring human rights claims to challenge injustice and obtain relief, including compensation. Because of our in-depth knowledge and experience, we are also able to offer consultancy and training services.

Extradition and mutual assistance
Our work focuses on preventing individuals from being extradited to face trial abroad. This includes regularly working on prominent cases, such as USA v Dmytro Firtash, in which our work led to a landmark decision to block the politically motivated extradition of the Ukrainian oligarch.

International sanctions and asset-freezing
Our barristers have brought a wide range of claims – including before the English courts and the Court of Justice of the European Union – to stop individuals and groups being subjected to asset-freezing and sanctions.

Commissions of Inquiry
Sareta Ashraph of Garden Court Chambers is currently the Analyst on the UN Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, investigating violations of international law in the context of ongoing events in Syria.

Garden Court also offers experience of the United Nations’ International Commission of Inquiry on Libya, examining alleged violations of international law by the pro-Gaddafi forces, the anti-Gaddafi armed groups and NATO. 

As leading practitioners in international criminal law, our barristers are also frequently called upon to provide training, including for the Bar Human Rights Committee, the British Joint Services Command and Staff College and The Advocacy Club.

Who we work for

We provide advice and representation to a wide range of individuals and organisations, including:

  • Individuals
  • Governments
  • NGOs
  • Victim groups
  • The UN
  • The EU


We have worked on numerous cases involving international criminal law, including:

Prosecutor v Saif Gaddafi
We were instructed by the Libyan government in their ground-breaking challenge to the jurisdiction of the ICC over for the criminal investigation and trial of Saif Gaddafi for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Kaytan v Turkey
The European Court of Human Rights accepted our submissions that the imposition of a whole life sentence on the applicant – following his conviction for seeking to destroy the unity of the Turkish state – was incompatible with his Article 3 right not to be subjected to inhuman punishment.

Prosecutor v Justin Mugenzi
We represented the former Rwandan Minister of Trade at his trial and appeal. The Appeals Chamber quashed both of his convictions and ordered his immediate release.

Prosecutor v Abdullah Al-Senussi
In another case involving the Libyan government, they instructed us concerning jurisdiction for the criminal investigation and trial of Abdullah Al-Senussi for crimes against humanity and war crimes. The ICC Appeals Chamber eventually found in favour of Libya.

Prosecutor v Radovan Karadzic
We provided lead counsel appointed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to protect the interests of self-representing accused, former President of Republika Srpska, charged with genocide and other major war crimes.