November 5, 1998
Amicus Curiae Officer
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
2517 JW, The Hague
Dear Amicus Curiae Officer:
Re: Application to Submit an Amicus Curiae Brief in the Case of the Prosecutor v. Anto Furundzija, Case No. IT-95-17/1-T, scheduled to reopen on November 9, 1998
Further to IT/22, "Information Concerning the Submission of Amicus Curiae Briefs" (27 March 1997), please find below our application to submit an Amicus Curiae Brief. Attached to this Application is a copy of our Amicus Curiae Brief.
The Applicants are as follows:
The above-noted applicants are international women's human rights legal scholars and representatives of non-governmental organizations who are concerned about the effect of the Decision and Order of 16 July 1998 of the Trial Chamber in the case of the Prosecutor v. Anto Furundzija, Case No. IT-95-17/1-T (scheduled to reopen on November 9, 1998). More specifically, we are interested in this case because the Decision and Order or 16 July may not have adequately considered the rights of Witness "A" to equality, privacy and security of the person in the context of balancing her rights with the right of the accused to make full answer and defence.
The Applicants seek to address issues arising from the 16 July 1998 Decision and Order of the Trial Chamber. The Applicants particularly wish to submit the information contained in the enclosed Amicus Curiae Brief, namely: information on and analysis of international law relating to non-discrimination and rights to equality, privacy and security of the person; rape myths within the criminal trial process; how certain jurisdictions have dealt with disclosure of rape counselling records; irrelevance of counselling records in the determination of credibility; and the effect on the counselling relationship of disclosure of counselling records.
The qualifications of the applicants are as follows:
Joanna Birenbaum is a lawyer at the law firms of Iler, Campbell, Klippenstein in Toronto, and Turkstra, Mazza in Hamilton, Canada. She is a member of the Working Group on Engendering the Rwanda Criminal Tribunal ("Working Group"), a coalition of lawyers and law students working to ensure that both the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda address issues of gender justice. The Working Group is part of the Coalition for Women's Human Rights in Conflict Situations ("the Coalition"), housed at the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development in Montreal, Canada.
Barbara Bedont is a lawyer and a representative of the non-governmental organization Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)- Toronto (Canada) Branch. WILPF (Toronto Branch) is a member of the Coalition.
Annie Bunting is a lawyer and an Assistant Professor at York University's Division of Social Sciences, and a member of the Working Group.
Ariane Brunet is the Coordinator of the Women's Human Rights Programme at the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (ICHRDD) in Montreal, Canada. Ms. Brunet oversees the Coalition.
Rhonda Copelon is a lawyer, the Director of the International Women's Human Rights Law Clinic (IWHR) and a Professor of law at the City University of New York (CUNY) Law School, based in New York, U.S.A. IWHR is a part of the Coalition.
Jennifer Green is a staff lawyer at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York, U.S.A. CCR is a member of the Coalition.Alice Karekezi is a lawyer and a representative of the following groups in Rwanda: Avega barakabaho, Arfem, Hagaruka; the Hope Clinic; Rwandan Women Net, and Club Maman Sportive. She is also a member of the Coalition.
Betty Murungi is a lawyer and representative of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) (Kenyan chapter) based in Nairobi, Kenya.
Valerie Oosterveld is a lawyer and Director of the International Human Rights Programme at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, in Canada. She is also a member of the Working Group.
Jody Ranck is a Research Fellow and Lecturer in culture, memory and trauma at the Human Rights Centre, University of California at Berkeley, U.S.A. He is also a member of the Coalition.
The Applicants apply to submit an Amicus Curiae Brief on the Applicants' own initiative.
The Applicants believe that their Amicus Curiae Brief will aid in the proper determination of the case. This Brief, along with the Amicus Curiae Brief submitted by the Center for Civil and Human Rights, Notre Dame Law School, canvasses the law with respect to the production of counselling records in cases involving victims of sexual assault. In the present case, we submit that our Amicus Curiae Brief will assist the Trial Chamber in the determination of the issues involved in the balancing of the rights of the accused and the rights of the victim. The points raised in the Applicants' Amicus Curiae Brief were not substantively explored in the Trial Chamber's Decision and Order of 16 July 1998, having potentially serious effects in the present case and on the precedent set regarding the treatment of female victims of sexual violence in the future at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.
One of the Applicants, Professor Rhonda Copelon, contacted the Office of the Prosecution (Patricia Sellers) in August, 1998, after having read confusing press reports about the Trial Chamber's 16 July Decision and Order. She contacted Ms. Sellers by telephone in order to determine whether it was true that the Furundzija trial was being reopened. This was the only contact.
Should you have any questions regarding the submission of this Application or Amicus Curiae Brief, please do not hesitate to contact me.
On behalf of the Applicants
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia