Ashgate Companion Symposium: DiBella on Equality of Arms in International Criminal Law

SCHABAS JKT(250X172)pathWe are delighted to welcome Amy DiBella for this guest post. Amy is a defence lawyer based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She wrote her chapter in the Ashgate Research Companion to International Criminal Law: Critical Perspectives with Charles C. Jalloh, Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh. 

In our chapter, “Equality of Arms in International Criminal Law: Continuing Challenges”, we considered the meaning of equality of arms and how is it implemented in international criminal law.

The analysis reveals the disparity between the theory and practice. Although the principle evokes a broad evaluation of fairness, in practice, it is “a lofty goal … applied feebly”. The chapter offers multiple examples of courts shying away from equality and instead embracing a more conservative interpretation of the principle. Rather than require equal resources, the legal principle has been interpreted to require no substantial disadvantage, an adequate opportunity or sufficient time.  Following a brief discussion of the link between equality of arms and the public trial guarantee, the chapter considers how equality of arms is more than a trial right; it is an expansive institutional entitlement which relates to the structural independence of the defence offices. Continue reading