International Criminal Law Externship: Nina Kisic, former Senior Legal Advisor, Criminal Defense Section of the War Crimes Chamber of the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (OKO)

All International opportunities are posted on Symplicity

Coastal Law offers students an extraordinary opportunity to work as externs with defense counsel representing defendants before the War Crimes Chamber of the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (OKO) and appeals to the European Court of Human Rights. This externship is an unparalleled opportunity to gain experience in working on international high profile cases, dealing with multiple national legal systems, and developing expertise in the field of international criminal law and human rights.

Ensuring that defendants receive a fair trial in accordance with international standards is essential to the rule of law. A fundamental component of a fair trial is the principle of “equality of arms” (See Art. 14(1) of the ICCPR). The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has held that equality of arms does not necessarily require equality of means and resources between the prosecution and defense but it does mean that both parties are entitled to equality of treatment so that the conditions of trial do not put the accused at an unfair disadvantage. In light of the significant international resources put at the disposal of the prosecution, Coastal seeks to help correct this imbalance by providing free legal assistance to defense counsel through the International Criminal Law Externship Program.

Coastal’s International Criminal Law Externship offers students the opportunity to learn and develop the art of lawyering by teaching skills, values, multicultural functionality and substantive law by engaging students with the intellectual, pragmatic, ethical, and personal issues that arise in the practice of international criminal law. More specifically, students enrolled in Coastal’s International Criminal Law Externship Program may improve their ability to perform thorough and competent legal research, write persuasive, well organized briefs and pleadings or opinions and keep complete and organized files. Consistent with professional responsibility externs may learn how to identify and investigate facts needed to evaluate or support a legal position, understand decision making by judicial or administrative authorities and apply an area of substantive law to actual cases.

Externs will learn the importance of ethical issues such as client confidentiality in all of their work as they help counsel prepare for depositions, client counseling, negotiations, and presenting evidence and arguments in court.
The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a domestic court of the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH) which includes international judges and prosecutors. It was established on 3 July 2002 by the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina with the Law on the Court of BiH and promulgated on 12 November 2000 by the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is based in Sarajevo, was created to handle cases involving terrorism, war crimes, human trafficking, and organized and economic crimes. The vast majority of war crimes committed in the territory of BIH since 1991 are and will be tried at the Court of BiH.

Externs perform such tasks as legal research, cataloguing exhibits, summarizing depositions, writing internal memoranda, motion writing and writing pre- and post-trial briefs. The externship provides students with the opportunity to gain experience in the field of international criminal law, a field which is very difficult to enter

For the classroom component of the externship, students must attend the Florida Coastal Externship Course DE course.  Externs will keep a daily log of their work and hours as well as a reflection on their work performed. They submit this weekly to Professor Chris Roederer. Students must participate in a de-briefing with Professor Chris Roederer upon their return to Coastal.

So that students are prepared to both provide the assistance demanded by this internship as well as learn the most from the program, Coastal will select students who have as strong a base as possible in the area of international and criminal law. It is strongly recommended that applicants have taken International Law, Criminal Law, and Criminal Procedure (and preferably International Criminal Law, comparative law and evidence) and received a Grade of “B” or higher in LP I and II. Applicants must have no less than 58 credit hours and a G.P.A. of 2.75 is preferred. Applicants who can demonstrate his or her interest in international law through overseas work or study experience, other degrees or coursework (in law school as well as other graduate and undergraduate schools), experience living or traveling overseas (i.e. foreign language abilities), and involvement in organizations with an international or comparative focus will be given priority. For questions, please contact Professor Chris Roederer.