For the Defence

In order to ensure the highest standards of representation before the Court of BiH, the Plenum of Judges have adopted ‘Additional Rules of Procedure for Defence Advocates’ which require advocates to demonstrate their knowledge of relevant law in order to be allowed to appear before the Court. The ‘Additional Rules’ are available at the bottom of the page.

The Additional Rules were approved by the Plenum of Judges of the Court of BiH on 30th June 2005. They apply to all cases before Section I for War Crimes and Section II for Organised Crime that start after the date of commencement, 7th July 2005.

Professional Criteria

Article 3.2 of the Additional Rules requires that applicants must be a current and valid member of either of the Bar Associations, and must possess as an advocate, judge or prosecutor at least seven years of relevant working experience on legal matters in order to be appointed as the only advocate or the primary advocate.


Knowledge Criteria

Article 12(3) Law on Court of BiH allows the court to set the qualifications of advocates appearing before the Court. Article 3.2(3) of the Additional Rules requires that applicants must possess knowledge and expertise in relevant areas of law in accordance with the criteria published by OKO. The knowledge criteria can be satisfied by experience or by participation in an alternative training course.



Qualification by Experience

Training alternative

New Criminal legislation in BiH

Completion of 1 criminal trial as an advocate before Court of BiH, or

Completion of 2 serious criminal trials as an advocate before lower courts using the new CC/CPC, or

Completion of a training course on the CC/CPC approved by OKO

2 day training course on CPC and CC provided by OKO

War Crimes Law

(only required for those wishing to do war crimes cases)

Completion of 1 war crimes trial before Section I of the Court of BiH, or

Completion of 2 domestic war crimes trials as an advocate before lower courts, or

Substantial work as counsel in the trial phase at ICTY, or

Completion of post-graduate study of IHL, or

2 day training course on IHL provided by OKO

2 day training course on IHL provided by OKO

Details of the training courses that can be completed as an alternative are available on the ‘Training’ section of this website.

Period of Validity

These criteria will apply to applications received by OKO before 30th June 2009.


Continuing Professional Training Criteria

The required Continuing professional training in the year 2009 is 8 hours. In 2009, Continuing professional training criteria is required for Section I lawyers only.


Application form

In accordance with Rule 3.3 of the ‘Additional Rules of Procedure for Defence Advocates’ advocates must fill in a form provided by OKO in order to apply to be admitted to the list of authorized advocates. The form is available below.


Special Admission

The Law of the Court of BiH has provision for advocates to be ‘specially admitted’ where they do not fulfill the normal criteria for appearing before the Court. This will have two uses before the Court of BiH: Judges will be able to specially admit lawyers from BiH who are not on the list of authorized advocates where it is in the interests of justice to do so, and Judges can also specially admit foreign lawyers, where their expertise and fair trial rights demand it.

Criteria for ‘special admission’ are outlined in Article 3.4(4) of the Additional Rules. The first criteria allows for the admission of experts in war crimes law and human rights law, who would be able to appear and argue before the court on specific points. The law of BiH does not allow for ‘amicus curiae’ to assist the court on complicated areas of law, and this form of special admission would deal with that problem.

The second criteria deals with 11bis cases. The rule suggests that where a case is transferred from the ICTY, and a foreign lawyer has already prepared the case, the Court should specially admit the lawyer if another advocate would not have ‘adequate time for the preparation of the defence’, referring to the test in Article 6(3)(b) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Any application for Special Admission must be made to the Court.