Annual Public Lecture on Human Rights
On television screens, nightly we see Islam being portrayed as a violent and uncompromising religion. Murder, terrorism and denial of human rights are frequently blamed on Islam. At the same time, such acts are frequently justified as somehow “Islamic” by those that call themselves Muslim. The question posed therefore is whether Islam is compatible with the contemporary world and international standards of human rights. The speaker will argue that Islam advocates the peaceful co-existence of peoples, religions and society and guarantees individual and collective rights. The speaker will assert that Islam is not contrary to human rights. Rather, human rights are a central feature of Islam.
Karim Khan QC was called to the Bar of England & Wales in 1992 and is a Queen’s Counsel. He is also admitted to the Bar in Pakistan. He is the President of the International Criminal Court Bar Association (ICCBA) which represents both Victims and Defence Counsel eligible to appear before the International Criminal Court (ICC).
He has prosecuted at the ICTY and ICTR and acted as lead counsel for the largest group of civil party victims in case number one before the ECCC.
Presently, Karim is Lead counsel for Saif Al-Islam Gadaffi of Libya and is also lead counsel for Darfuri rebel leader Abdulla Banda before the International Criminal Court (ICC). Karim has been Lead Defence Counsel in several other case before the ICC - namely for the current Deputy President of Kenya, H.E. William Ruto (the first successful ‘no case to answer motion’ at the ICC), for Ambassador Muthaura, Head of the Public Service of Kenya (the first case to be withdrawn by the Prosecutor of the ICC in a case which was confirmed), Sudanese Darfuri rebel leader, Bahar Idris Abu Garda (the first case not confirmed at the ICC), Jean Pierre Bemba Gombo at the confirmation stage and Darfuri rebel leader Saleh Jerbo from his initial appearance until his death in the Darfur situation.
Karim has also acted as Lead Counsel at the ICTY, Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), EULEX Courts in Kosovo and at the Special Panel for Serious Crimes (Timor Leste). He was Counsel in the Defence Team representing Lawyer Nkongho Felix Agbor Balla before the Military Tribunal of Cameroon on charges which included terrorism. Felix is a human rights defender, the African Bar Association Vice President for Central Africa, President of the Fako Lawyers Association (FAKLA) and President of the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CASC).
He is presently international Lead Counsel for large groups of victims of human rights violations in Albania, Kenya and Sierra Leone. Karim is a founding director of the NGOs, the “Peace and Justice Initiative” and “Global Victims Initiative’. He has published a number of leading texts on international criminal law, and is the co-author of Archbold ‘International Criminal Courts’.