Colleen Rohan

International Lawyer


Colleen Rohan is an expert in criminal defence litigation in both domestic and international courts. She has represented members of the military and private clients in complex cases involving charges of genocide, murder, terrorism, war crimes and crimes against humanity.  In her domestic practice she specialised in death penalty cases, gang-related cases, international extradition and post-conviction remedies.

Background and expertise

Collen has provided advice, consultancy and training to legal teams, governments, international organisations, and NGOs.  She has advised defence counsel and represented international civil servants charged with misconduct, including at the United Nations, the Extraordinary Criminal Court for Cambodia and most recently at the International Criminal Court.  She has lectured extensively on international criminal law and ethics at universities in the United States and Europe and has provided training to lawyers and law students from around the world.  Ms. Rohan is also a highly respected appellate specialist and legal writer, well- known for the excellence of her written and oral advocacy, strategic originality and creative legal analysis. She was the editor of the first practice-oriented manual on defending international criminal cases published for an international court (the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia) and has authored numerous articles in the fields of international criminal law and ethics.  She was recently awarded a Presidential Commendation by the National Association of Criminal Defence Lawyers in the United States for the outstanding quality of her legal work in the international courts.

Admissions to Practice


  • Rule 45 List, Defence Counsel for International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY)
  • Rule 22 List, Defence Counsel for the International Criminal Court (ICC)
  • Rule 45 List, Defence Counsel for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)
  • List of Defence Counsel for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, (STL)


  • United States Supreme Court
  • Qualified before California State Supreme Court and
  • United States Federal District Court for appointment in death penalty cases
  • All courts of the State of California, U.S.A.
  • United States Federal District Court, Northern District of California
  • United States Federal Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • United States Federal District Court, Southern District of California

Notable cases

Prosecutor v Haradinaj (ICTY), 2010

Counsel for Idriz Balaj; acquitted on all 37 counts charged at original trial in 2008; acquitted on all counts after prosecution appeal and retrial.

Prosecutor v Milorad Trbic (ICTY), 2006

Lead Counsel in multi-accused case charging genocide in Srebrenica during Balkans War.  Client severed from case.

Prosecutor v Radovan Karadzic (ICTY), 2009-present

Legal Consultant for Standby Counsel Team.

Prosecutor v Ruto, et al (Kenya 1 case) (ICC), 2011

Counsel for defence witnesses in first confirmation hearing in ICC Kenya case.

Prosecutor v Abdallah Banda Abadaer Nourian and Saleh Mohanned Jerbo Jamus, (Darfur case)

Counsel on amicus curiae brief on behalf of the Association of Defence Counsel Practising Before the ICTY (ADC-ICTY)  in case involving allegations of murders of UN personnel.

Case No 004 (ECCC), 2013

Expert Consultant on ethical issues raised during pre-trial investigation; Khymer Rouge genocide case.

Morin v Secretary General of the United Nations (United Nations Dispute Tribunal), 2011

Counsel for U.N. employee (Department of Safety and Security) regarding allegations of misconduct arising from terrorist bombing of U.N. House in Algiers.  Misconduct charges dismissed.

Assaf v ICC (ICC), 2012 - present

Counsel for ICC employee seeking compensation and damages arising from detention in Libya.

Mr. Toma Fila, ICTY Disciplinary Board Case

ADC-ICTY Representative to Appellate Board; wrote dissenting opinion defending free speech rights of defence counsel at the international courts.

Regina v William Joseph Quinn, 1986

Counsel in international extradition of Provisional Irish Republican Army member accused of terrorist bombings and murder; all bombing allegations dismissed (1983).

People v Oscar Gates—Counsel serving as “next friend” liaison between court, client and defence counsel in death penalty case involving first impression issue of competency of client in federal habeas corpus proceeding; resulted in suspension of death penalty sentence (1986).

People v Robert Nawi, 1997

Appellate counsel in case involving numerous substantive and procedural challenges to reliability of DNA evidence, quality of DNA testing laboratories and DNA testing techniques.

Read Less


  • Presidential Commendation for outstanding service, in the practice of international law, to the goals and objectives of liberty:  awarded by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, USA, conferred July 2013, San Francisco.


  • English (mother tongue)
  • French (conversational)
  • Spanish (conversational)

PROFILE: Colleen Rohan


020 7489 2727