Throughout the latter half of the twentieth-century, defense counsel arguing before international criminal tribunals provided notoriously ineffective assistance. This note examines whether defense counsel similarly fail to provide competent assistance at the International Criminal Court––and if they do so for similar reasons. In examining the ICC’s procedural and regulatory framework, this note highlights the systemic inequities at the Court that favor the prosecution and devalue the defense, thereby hindering the acquisition of competent defense counsel and promoting the retention of incompetent defense counsel.

To address these iniquities, this note promotes various administrative reforms, all of which could be implemented without requiring significant overhauls of the ICC’s current structure. Failure to take action, this note cautions, risks depriving the accused of a competent defense, jeopardizing the equality of arms and the ICC’s perceived legitimacy.