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Lessons From International Tribunals: In Conversation with Anabela Alves

Updated: 3 days ago

Anabela Alves is a Portuguese lawyer having served as Legal Advisor to Chambers at the ICTY and later as Legal Advisor to the Presidency and Chambers at the ICC. She has also worked extensively on advising, training, and capacity building for various national judiciaries.

CJLPA: Thank you for taking the time to interview with the Cambridge Journal of Law, Politics, and Art to discuss your incredibly influential law career, ranging from work at the International Criminal Court in its early days, to your time at the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) advising on law, justice, and human rights, and with the International Nuremberg Principles Academy, working on capacity-building and training for various judiciaries. That’s just a small snapshot of your extensive CV, which I hope we’ll be able to explore a little bit more deeply.


So, to that end, I’d like to start with your time as a Lawyer with Judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). How did your time in that setting influence your outlook on the importance of accountability and justice in the case of human rights violations?


Anabela Alves: Thank you very much. Thank you, first of all, for inviting me to this interview. It is a pleasure to join you today. And now I will try to address your questions as honestly as I always do, giving you just a glimpse into what it was like to opt for the different legal career paths and experiences that I had with these international organizations. So, I joined the ICTY in 2000. It was a decision I made prior to completing my LLM that I was doing in London, which focused on international Criminal law and human rights. I had already done an LLB European law honours degree, also in London, and was working part-time on three jobs at university, so it took quite some determination on my part to actually reach The Hague. At the time, I was working as a paralegal at D J Freeman solicitors, and I was also being encouraged to obtain British citizenship to follow a career with the British Foreign Office, while partners at D J Freeman encouraged me to pursue my full qualification to be retained by the law firm. When I submitted my LLM thesis on international legal responsibility for East Timor, the School of Oriental and African Studies awarded me a merit for my research and invited me to pursue a PhD while lecturing part time. However, besides the additional financial burden that this would entail, and other considerations of settling in London longer term, I knew then that I wanted to work for an international justice mechanism.

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