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The International Prosecutor

Luc Côté



Born in Montreal, Luc Côté has been a Criminal law attorney for more than 20 years. In 2001, he graduated from the Higher Institute of International Studies in Geneva in International Law, specializing in International Criminal Law. He gave lectures in law at l’Université du Québec à Montréal, l’Université de Montréal and l’Université de Sherbrooke.

Since 1994, he was specifically involved in prosecutions of International Crimes, both in domestic and international jurisdictions. He worked during 5 years in Rwanda, firstly with the High Commission for Human Rights investigating the genocide before joining the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda from 1995 to 1999.  He then worked for 2 years as a Senior Attorney in the Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Section of the Canadian Justice Department in Ottawa. In 2003, he was appointed Chief of Prosecutions for the Special Court for Sierra Leone where he remained for 3 years. In 2006, he worked as Executive Director of the Independent Special Commission of Inquiry for Timor-Leste set by the United Nations. He is currently a consultant on International Prosecutions with the International Center for Transitional Justice (NY) and the UN High Commission for Human Rights (Geneva). He is also working with UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre as an expert on Children and Transitional Justice. He is also involved in the Justice Rapid Response Project, an international cooperative mechanism to provide efficient expertise and/or resources to investigate, prosecute, and bring to justice alleged perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.


He has been writing papers on international prosecutions including:  

  • «International criminal justice: tightening up the rules of the game», International Review of the Red Cross, Vol. 87, No. 1, 2006.

  •  « Le Tribunal Pénal  International pour le Rwanda : un tribunal dans la tourmente » à paraître dans F. REYNTJENS & S. MARYSSE (Eds.), L'Afrique des Grands Lacs. Annuaire 2005-2006, Paris, L'Harmattan,

  •  « Reflections on the Exercise of Prosecutorial Discretion in International Criminal Law », Journal of International Criminal Justice, 3, (2005), 162-186.   

  •  «Prosecuting Child Related Crimes at the Special Court for Sierra Leone: a mid term assessment», UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, November 2005.

  •  “Justice internationale et lutte contre l’impunité : dix ans de tribunaux pénaux internationaux”, dansFaire la paix : concepts et pratiques de la consolidation de la paix”, Presses de l’Université Laval, Québec, 2005, p. 87-114.

  •  "Compliance With the Law of War: The Role of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda," in Edward C. Luck and Michael W. Doyle, eds., International Law and Organization: Closing the Compliance Gap, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Lanham, MD, 2004.