A Russell Jones & Walker lawyer has been appointed to the list of defence lawyers allowed to work in The Hague's war crimes court
Omer Ghanti, a solicitor advocate from Russell Jones's Birmingham office, has been added to the United Nation's Rule 45 list, which determines who represents legal aid defendants before The Hague's courts. Although it is Ghanti's name on the panel, instructions will actually go to Russell Jones as a firm. Fees will be paid out of the United Nations Legal Aid Defence Fund. According to Ghanti, this type of international law is an area that Russell Jones is very interested in developing. The Hague court investigates and tries high-profile cases of genocide and war crimes. Currently sitting are: the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which is hearing the case against former Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic; the tribunal for Rwanda; and the East Timor tribunal. Ghanti joined Russell Jones just last year to head up the firm's fraud and tax investigations department. A barrister since the 1980s, he was admitted as a solicitor in 1998. Ghanti is the first UK solicitor-advocate to be appointed to the panel. He believes that his dual qualification gives him an added advantage. "Sometimes, when barristers get onto trials, they find it difficult. I'm used to the fieldwork involved in an investigation and to appointing experts to give evidence," he explained. "Also, I'll have all of the resources of a law firm behind me."