Equality of arms in international criminal law: Continuing challenges Book Chapter

Jalloh, CC, Di Bella, A. (2016). Equality of arms in international criminal law: Continuing challenges . 251-287. 10.4324/9781315613062-19

cited authors

  • Jalloh, CC; Di Bella, A



  • Equality of arms is a key principle of the international criminal justice system. It encompasses many other procedural promises of a trial, such as the right to public hearings and the right of the defence to examine witnesses under the same conditions as those for prosecution. It is part of the overarching concern for fair trial which weighs into nearly every critical decision. Despite multiple judgments, decisions, briefs and scholarly articles stating the theoretical importance of equality of arms, its practical implementation is left in want. A vast disparity in resources between defence and prosecution has been well-documented in each of the ad hoc tribunals as well as in the permanent International Criminal Court (ICC).1 With the exception of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), the structural position of the defence has been subordinated to the prosecution, as well as to Chambers and the Registry, in each of these courts.2 The lobby outside of the ICC courtrooms bears symbolic testimony to this in the framed pictures of the Judges, the Registrarand Deputy Registrar alongside those of the Prosecutor and Deputy Prosecutor. The ICC does not appear to be exceptional in this as the ICTR lobby is similarly adorned with photographs of its principals without the defence.

publication date

  • January 1, 2016

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

International Standard Book Number (ISBN) 13

start page

  • 251

end page

  • 287