Nine Bedford Row



Steven Kay QC leads 9 Bedford Row’s International team and is a leading international criminal lawyer with a global reputation who has been in many of the landmark cases that have established modern international criminal law. His cases below demonstrate the depth of experience and the quality of the work for which he has been hired. The other international lawyers of 9 Bedford Row have been involved in most of these cases with him and they have developed together an impressive team to meet the unique challenges these cases present in whatever part of the world they may arise.

Steven is experienced in advising clients at the crisis stage of an international situation by setting out their options and guiding their responses, whilst also making the preparations necessary for future litigation. International cases are complex and demanding, they require a careful exercise of judgment and a thorough understanding of the issues involved so that a case is ready by the time you arrive in court. Experience has shown that good systems for the collection and management of evidence are necessary and he assembles highly able team members to perform these tasks. The presentation of that material is then crucial and it is here where his advocacy and presentational skills are able to make the difference in a clear, understandable and accurate presentation of a case either through the questioning of witnesses or speeches.

Chambers UK 2015 Commentary: Steven Kay QC 'Has significant experience before the International Criminal Court in matters involving crimes against humanity and war crimes. He is also sought after to counsel governments, corporations and membership organisations on best practice and compliance matters. Expertise: "He has a stellar international crime law practice and he is great in court." Recent work: Defended President Kenyatta of Kenya, who was charged with crimes against humanity for his alleged role in violence following the 2007 national elections in Kenya.

Chambers UK 2013 Commentary: 'Steven Kay QC heads the international team at 9 Bedford Row. A leading barrister at the International Criminal Court, he has represented a number of prominent international figures. He offers expertise in handling the prospect of future litigation and the preparation and presentation of landmark cases. Over the course of his career he has represented Croatian Colonel General Ivan Cermak and was involved in the defence of Slobodan Milosevic at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and advised detainees at Guantanamo Bay on their human rights. Kay has also advised the Syrian government. Recent instructions include the defence of the Deputy Prime Minister of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, against charges of post-election violence and crimes against humanity, and the representation of members of Jamaat e Islami at the Bangladesh War Crimes Tribunal.'




The Prosecutor v Uhuru Kenyatta 2010:

International Criminal Court proceedings against Deputy Prime Minister of Kenya and the son of the first President of the Republic of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta, alleging a role in the post-election violence of 2008 charged as crimes against humanity. At the confirmation of charges hearing Steven challenged the Prosecution case theory comprehensively and called Uhuru Kenyatta in his own defence. The Defence evidence brought before the court was not the product of the Prosecution investigations and clearly established the strong foundation of the defence case.

Steven Kay QC delivers opening statement for Uhuru Kenyatta, 21 September 2011

Steven Kay QC presents Defence evidence for Uhuru Kenyatta, 28 September 2011

Steven Kay QC examines Uhuru Kenyatta in chief, 29 September 2011

Steven Kay QC presents closing argument for Uhuru Kenyatta, 5 October 2011

Beslan Victims Complaint v Russia ECHR 2011:

Steven Kay QC and Eeva Heikkila have received notification that the European Court of Human Rights has communicated the case of the siege at the school in Beslan by Chechen terrorists in September 2004 to the Russian Government for observations. This landmark case has taken its first step in seeking justice for the victims against the Russian Government which now has to explain why it stormed a school full of children and civilians using tanks, flamethrowers and grenades on the third day of the hostage crisis. Many of the children were burned alive in the school gym, as the roof caught fire under the attack by the security forces. The case before the Court is that the deaths of the 334 hostages were as a result of the excessive and indiscriminate use of lethal force by the Russian security forces. After the storming of the school, the hospitals in the area were sealed-off by the Government and the victims’ families denied access and information. Many parents still don’t know how their children died. Many parents have also not been told where the remains of their children are located. The complaint to the ECHR also charges the Russian Government with failure to investigate where the responsibility for the deaths lies and for the failure to bring those responsible to justice. The case they will present to the ECHR is not only that the assault upon the school violated the rights of the children and innocent civilians inside the school, but also that the persistent denial of justice and lack of accountability for this crime constitute individual breaches by the Russian Federation of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.


Since October 2010 instructed with Toby Cadman and John Cammegh of 9BRi by Jamaat E Islami to represent their members prosecuted by the Bangladesh War Crimes Tribunal in Dakhar. The fairness of the Bangladesh International Crimes Act and its Rules has been the focus of the team as well as the conduct of the trials, the first of which commenced in 2010. 9BRi are working with the local lawyers to ensure fairness by attempting to persuade the Government of Bangladesh to reform its laws that have been internationally condemned as unfair and by seeking international support to pressurize for reforms. On the trial level 9BRi are providing essential trial support for the Defence teams to enable them to meet the complex challenges they face.

The Prosecutor v Ivan Čermak 2007-2011:

U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia prosecution of Croatian Army Generals arising from the conduct Operation Storm in August 1995 which was the military action that resulted in the liberation of the Croatian territories from the RSK. Gillian Higgins of 9BRi was co-counsel in this case that has been described as the most important trial in the history of the State of Croatia. The essential evidence to be challenged in this case principally arose from UN witnesses who had their own take on the ground, as opposed to the reality of Cermak’s position in fact. Detailed review of military regulations and orders was necessary to replicate to the court the actual and exact unfolding of events at the time, that was not apparent from the Prosecution case.

Steven Kay QC presents arguments on Article 98bis in The Prosecutor v Gotovina et al, ICTY, 2009

Steven Kay QC cross-examines an Expert Witness in The Prosecutor v Gotovina et al, 2009

Steven Kay QC presents closing argument for the Cermak Defence, The Prosecutor v Gotovina et al


August 2008 - 2009 advisor to the government of Sudan re: referral by UN Security Council of Darfur situation to the International Criminal Court and the arrest warrant issued for President Bashir.

MPS v. Dariye 2006:

Civil and criminal proceedings against the Governor of Jos State in the Federal Republic of Nigeria and England for corruption and money laundering.


December 2005 - 2007 advisor to the Syrian Government and individuals concerning the investigation into the assassination of Lebanese ex-Premier, Rafik Hariri and 14 related terrorist explosions that are the subject of the jurisdiction of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

The Prosecutor v Slobodan Milosevic 2001-2006:

In September 2001 the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia appointed as amicus curiae with responsibility for defence issues in the trial of the ex-President of Serbia. In September 2004, appointed the Court Assigned Defence Counsel for Slobodan Milosevic. Gillian Higgins of 9BRi was also counsel in this historic case that was the first international trial of a Head of State. The trial was upon 3 joined indictments concerning the wars of the 1990s waged in Kosovo, Bosnia and Croatia by the Serbian forces and was the largest international criminal trial in its scope. This trial involved political, historical and factual issues of a highly complex nature and legal argument that has been referred to ever since.

Steven Kay QC presents submissions as Assigned Defence Counsel before the ICTY on the right to self-representation

Steven Kay QC presents submissions as Amicus Curiae before the ICTY

The Prosecutor v Alfred Musema 1998-2001: U.N.

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. This was the first trial of a civilian alleging command responsibility for genocide and it took place in Arusha, Tanzania. The Defence team included Gillian Higgins of 9BRi and they were the first U.N. Defence counsel to enter Rwanda to conduct investigations in the field. These investigations produced important and critical evidence for the case that had been overlooked by Prosecution investigators who had been established in the field.

The Prosecutor v Dusko Tadic 1996-1997:

U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. This was the first international war crimes trial since the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials of the 1940s. This landmark trial in 1996 established the foundation for modern international criminal law. Tadic was charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity. The case had many legal arguments that set the foundations for the future conduct of international trials. This case started with enormous emotional hostility against the accused and through the careful presentation of the Defence case, there was a sea-change of interest into the merits of the case which seemed inconceivable at the start.

In the International Court of Justice:

Application of the Republic of Liberia concerning an interna- tional arrest warrant of President Charles Taylor, issued on 7 March 2003 by the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

Guantanomo Bay:

Advised suspects held in US Army captivity on ways and means to exercise their human rights.


Association of Defence Counsel (ICTY)
Defence Counsel ICC


Called to the Bar Inner Temple 1977
Queen’s Counsel 1997
Recorder of the Crown Court 1997
Master of the Bench of the Inner Temple 2008


The Role of the Defence - Commentary on The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court ed. Casese, Gaeta, Jones OUP 2002

Associated Work

Secretary of the Criminal Bar Association of England and Wales 1993-1996, Prime Minister's Special Committee on Victims in the Criminal Justice System 1995, Founder Member of the European Criminal Bar Association 1997, Founder member of the International Criminal Law Bureau 2008.
Lectures throughout the world on issues concerning the International Criminal Tribunals and the International Criminal Court (i.e. Berlin, Amsterdam, New York, Johannesburg, Salzburg, Geneva, London, The Hague, Sarajevo, and Arusha).
Training courses in advocacy and law to enable counsel to have the skills to appear before international courts.

Notable cases

R v Winzar: An allegation of murder by insulin injection.

R v Lomas: A European agricultural regulations fraud referred to the EEC Court of Justice, Luxembourg.

R v Hannon: An international time share fraud involving the companies of John Palmer tried at the Old Bailey in London.

R v Clemente: An international money laundering case involving the U.S, Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain and Austria. It was the largest case of its type tried in the U.K.

R v Dass: A revenue fraud involving corruption of an HM Customs Officer.

R v Simmonds: The manufacture of pharmaceuticals in Hong Kong listed as controlled drugs in the UK and their illegal import and export through the UK to the Middle East and Africa.

R v Amani: A murder within a prison.

R v Harrington: Money laundering through a police sting operation involving a fake bureau de change.

R v Munshi: Arson of a dwelling by a group of young people in which 3 children died.

R v Shakespeare: A case involving multiple sexual attacks by the use of a date rape drug.


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