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. She is currently serving as a member of the judicial panel for the International People’s Tribunal on Iran Atrocities of November 2019 (the “Aban Tribunal”) investigating charges of crimes against humanity allegedly committed by Iranian security forces against civilians in that country.


Colleen has provided advice, consultancy and training to legal teams, governments, international organisations, and NGOs.  She has  represented international civil servants charged with misconduct, including at the United Nations  and the International Criminal Court.  She has provided expert opinions on ethical standards at the Extraordinary Criminal Court for Cambodia and in the drafting of ethical codes at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. 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 a contributor to and the editor of the first practice-oriented manual on defending international criminal cases published for an international court ( “Manual on International Criminal Defence, ADC-ICTY Developed Practices” 2011; updated 2021) and has authored numerous articles in the fields of international criminal law and ethics.  She was 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.

She co-edited,  with Professor Gentian Zyberi, "Defense Perspectives on International Criminal Justice (Cambridge University Press 2017)and co-edited the legacy publication of the ICTY, “Legacies of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia”, eds. Carsten Stahn, Carmel Agius, Serge Brammertz and Colleen Rohan (Oxford University Press 2020).


International: 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), List of Counsel, Kosovo Specialist Chambers.

Domestic: 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.

Read more Notable cases


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).

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PROFILE: Colleen Rohan


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