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ICDAA Profile

The International Criminal Defence Attorneys Association (ICDAA) is an international non-governmental organization (INGO) dedicated to strengthening fair trial rights and an independent legal profession in the emerging international criminal justice system. The Association also works to improve access to justice for the citizens of transitional and post-conflict countries, most notably by testing the legality of long-term detentions.

ICDAA believes that the rule of law comes alive for ordinary people not just in legal texts but through the efforts of independent attorneys who represent them and give them a legal voice. The Association endeavours to build a strong defence culture in any court system where it intervenes and to establish a fair balance between judges, prosecutors, victims’ counsel and defence lawyers.

Created in 1997, ICDAA initially focused on vigorously supporting the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and proposing specific measures in the ICC rules to reinforce defence rights and the independent organization of lawyers practicing at the court. The Association led the coalition of legal organizations, bars and lawyers that created the International Criminal Bar (ICB), founded in Montreal in 2002 and now headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands, near the ICC.

ICDAA works primarily through partnerships and joint projects with national bar associations, international legal associations, law schools, government agencies and other NGOs around the world.

ICDAA is recognized on the international stage. It was first accredited by the UN to participate in the preparatory commissions leading to the creation of the ICC (1998-2002) and then to participate in meetings of the court’s governing body, called the Assembly of States Parties (ASP). ICDAA also has official consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and is formally recognized as an organization of Civil Society at the Organization of American States (OAS). It is registered on the Répertoire de la Francophonie as a participant organization.
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