Alphons Orie

Interview conducted 21 May 2015 in The Hague, Netherlands, by David P. Briand and Linda Carter.

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Interview Content

In his interview, Judge Alphons Orie reminisces about joining the defense team of Duško Tadić; receiving training in adversarial trial procedures; traveling to the Balkans to prepare Tadić's defense; the burden of the novel issues to be decided in the first case of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) first case; the high stature of ICTY judges; challenges of courtroom activities as a non-native speaker of English; and high expectations around the ICTY's first trial.

He discusses challenges to the jurisdiction of the ICTY in the Tadić case; development of the Tadić defense strategy; arguing for the concept of "safe conduct" before ICTY judges; how ICTY trials avoided the criticism of "victors' justice"; the process by which he was nominated for the ICTY bench and his campaigning in New York City; role of the ICTY in ending impunity for grave crimes; how certain ICC procedures are different from those of the ICTY; why the Tadić trial was shorter than subsequent ones; and the risk of politicization of international criminal law.

read full transcript of interview

Biographical Information

Alphons Orie received both his first university degree and Master of Laws degree at the University of Leiden, The Netherlands, and also undertook a postgraduate course in European Criminal Law at the Free University, Brussels, Belgium. He was a lecturer in criminal law at the University of Leiden from 1971-80, then served as a member of the bar of the Supreme Court of The Netherlands from 1981 to 1997.

In 1995, Orie joined the defense team in the ICTY's first case, Prosecutor v. Duško Tadić, which lasted for two years. During this time, he was a partner in the law firm Wladimiroff & Spong, where he specialized in criminal law and international criminal cases (including transborder defense, extradition, transfer of prisoners and international judicial cooperation) as well as Supreme Court criminal cases.

He served as a justice of the Supreme Court of The Netherlands from 1997 to 2001, after which he was elected as a permanent judge of the ICTY. In 2011, Orie was also elected as a judge of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals.