Victims’ Lawyers in the Courtroom: Opening and Closing Statements, Questioning Witnesses, Challenging and Presenting Evidence

  • Peter HaynesEmail author
Part of the International Criminal Justice Series book series (ICJS, volume 11)


The role victims’ lawyers fulfil in the courtroom is one of the most significant expressions of victims’ rights in international criminal justice. The three courts analysed in this book—the International Criminal Court, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon—all permit, albeit to varying degrees, the presence and active participation of lawyers representing victims in their proceedings. This chapter will look at the main content of that participation: making opening and closing statements, questioning the witnesses of the (other) parties, calling evidence and making submissions on sentencing. The chapter will highlight the existing practice on these issues and make brief recommendations, where necessary. The main conclusion to be drawn is, however, that the rights and duties of victims’ lawyers in the courtroom are still under development and case-law at all three courts is still evolving. The key points at the end of the chapter will summarise the main findings.


Opening statements Questioning witnesses List of questions Scope of questioning Mode of questioning Length of questioning Challenging evidence Calling evidence Personal interests of victims Rights of the accused Determination of the truth Closing arguments Sentencing submissions 


  1. Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (2014) Case 002/01, Factsheet.
  2. McGonigle Leyh B (2011) Procedural justice? Victim participation in international criminal proceedings. Intersentia, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  3. Panel of Independent Experts (2014) Expert Initiative on Promoting Effectiveness at the International Criminal Court.

Copyright information

© T.M.C. Asser Press and the authors 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Special Tribunal for LebanonThe HagueThe Netherlands

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