Author Image

Anni Pues is a Lecturer in International Law. Between 2013-2017, Anni completed her PhD at the University of Glasgow, sponsored by a College of Social Science Scholarship. She also holds an LLM in international law with distinction from the University of Glasgow and was awarded the Bruno Simma Prize for International Law. During her PhD, she was a teaching associate at the University of Glasgow, and also taught law at the University of Dundee and the University of Stirling. Her research interests lie broadly in the field of international criminal law, international law and security, transnational and European criminal law, as well as human rights. Her work has been published in international, British, and German law journals.

In addition to her academic career, Anni is also a successful law practitioner with international experience. She has high-level experience before international courts as legal representative before the Court of Justice of the European Union and as Legal Adviser before the International Criminal Court. Before making Scotland her home, Anni worked as an award-winning Human Rights and Criminal Defence Lawyer in Bonn, Germany. Her work as a practitioner covered topics such as terrorism, organised and transnational crime, extradition, and victim representation in criminal proceedings.


Towards the ‘Golden Hour’?: A critical exploration of the length of preliminary examinations

Read more about this publication

Over the years, the conduct of preliminary examinations has gained increasing importance at the International Criminal Court (ICC). One notable aspect in this area is the hugely diverging length of such examinations, ranging from one week for the situation in Libya to 12 years (and rising) for the situation in Colombia. This article critically interrogates the repeated claim of the Prosecutor that the absence of any provisions regulating the length of preliminary examinations was a deliberate decision of the drafters of the Rome Statute, leaving her with unfettered discretion in that area. Instead, it is suggested that the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in prioritizing preliminary examinations is legally limited through the obligation to ensure effective investigations, demanding reasonably swift responses because evidence vanishes over time — witnesses disappear, memories fade, and data gets lost (the ‘golden hour’ principle). Furthermore, the conduct of preliminary examinations is also limited through the legal and policy commitment to impartiality, including the appearance of impartiality. A robust debate about a structured and transparent process of prioritization at the preliminary examination stage is thus overdue. It is proposed that the Prosecutor should introduce a policy commitment to conclude preliminary examinations within a defined time limit. Such a policy would be an important step towards a more structured method of situation selection, and would reduce the possibility that decision-making processes in more contentious situations are postponed for obscure reasons.

Journal of International Criminal Justice / Volume 15 / Issue 3 / July 2017 / pp. 435-453