Silk quits international war crimes role

Outer Temple Chambers silk Paul Garlick QC, the British barrister appointed as an international war crimes judge in Bosnia and Herzegovina, has resigned his post after just three months in protest at the work judges have been assigned to do.

Garlick was one of nine judges appointed by Lord Paddy Ashdown, the High Representative to Bosnia and Herzegovina, in March this year to form a new war crimes court. It will eventually replace the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), based in the Hague.

The judges’ work began on 1 May, but no trials have yet taken place. On 10 June this year, Ashdown reassigned Garlick and seven other international judges to the part of the Bosnian court that deals with organised crime, economic crime and corruption.

Garlick said the new appointment happened without any consultation between Ashdown, the court registrar and the judges, and that he was “deeply disappointed” at the way he was treated. After discussions with the British Embassy, he resigned on 27 July and has returned to London to resume his practice.

“I felt that the circumstances had been orchestrated in such a way by the High Representative and the registrar of the court that my position was completely untenable and that my independence as a judge had been undermined,” said Garlick.

He expressed “huge respect” for the court’s Bosnian president, and added: “I do think that the judges that remain will be more than capable of overcoming these difficulties. It’s absolutely essential for the future of Bosnia that they do so in a totally independent way without any interference from politicians.”

The Office of the High Representative said: “Mr Paul Garlick QC has decided to return to London for professional reasons.”