Charles A. Adeogun-Phillips

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Charles Ayodeji Adeogun-Phillips (born in London, England, on 6 March 1966) is a former genocide and war crimes prosecutor, international lawyer, and founder of Charles Anthony (Lawyers) LLP.

Charles A. Adeogun-Phillips MCIArb


He was the son of Professor Anthony Adeyemi Adeogun, Professor Emeritus of Commercial and Industrial Law and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, an international labour law expert. His mother, Margaret Amba Ayinke Adeogun (née Williams), is a retired nurse and midwife.

He is a grandson of Phillip Bamgbose and Theresa Fatola Adeogun of Ajale Compound Igbajo, Osun State, Federal Republic of Nigeria, and of Henry Isaac Kobina-Badu Williams, of Cape Coast, Republic of Ghana and Joanna Olasumbo Williams of Itesi, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Federal Republic of Nigeria. His name "Ayodeji" means "My joy is doubled" in Yoruba[1]


He was educated at C.M.S Grammar School, Lagos, Nigeria's first secondary school (founded in 1859) and at Repton School in Derbyshire, England. He read law at Warwick University from where he graduated in 1989 and at the School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS), University of London, where he obtained his Master's degree in International Commercial Arbitration and ADR in 1994. He was admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in 1992 and in 1996, as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales.

Legal career

International legal career

In March 2001 at the age 35, he was appointed senior trial attorney and lead counsel at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, leading teams of international lawyers in the prosecution of persons involved in the 1994 Rwandan genocide in which an estimated 800,000 civilians were killed.

File:Charles A Adeogun-Phillips in Kibuye Rwanda.jpg
Charles A. Adeogun-Phillips in Rwanda

His work on behalf of the victims and survivors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide has been the subject of several books including--"Le Tribunal des vaincus: UN Nuremberg pour le Rwanda?" (the court of the defeated) by Thierry Cruvellier[2] and annotated leading cases of international criminal tribunals.[3] He also appears in a documentary film entitled Towards Reconciliation, Produced by the United Nations in 2004.

The genocide trial which he led between 2001 and 2002[4][5][6][7] against Pastor Elizaphan Ntakirutimana—the leader of the Seventh Day Adventist Church who was transferred to the UN Court from the United States, was the subject of a book written by the American author Philip Gourevitch entitled "we wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families".

He also led the trial against serial rapist Mikaeli Muhimana involving charges of sexual violence and cruelty against women between 2004 and 2005. The Muhimana case clarified and developed the jurisprudence of the international criminal tribunals on the legal elements and definition of the crime of rape in the context of large scale and widespread international crimes.[8][9]

Having led complex plea negotiations in the Vincent Rutaganira – Paul Bisengimana trials between 2004 and 2007—resulting in guilty pleas to serious violations of international humanitarian law, Adeogun-Phillips is one of the few international litigation lawyers in the world who have contributed to the development and practice of guilty plea negotiations in the context of large-scale international crimes.

In addition, between 17 June and 2 October 2009, he led a team of international prosecutors the retrial of Tharcisse Muvunyi on the charges of direct and public incitement to commit genocide. He had led the original trial in the said case between 28 February 2005 and 23 June 2006 following which the defendant was convicted. On 29 August 2008, the Appeals Chamber reversed all the convictions against the defendant and ordered a retrial on the charge of direct and public incitement to commit genocide. The retrial in the Muvunyi case in 2009 was the first of its kind before any of the international tribunals.

Other notable international genocide trials he has led include that of the former Deputy-Governor, Dominique Ntawukulilyayo, in 2009;[10][11] that of the former Finance Minister – Emmanuel Ndindabahizi between 2003 and 2004[12][13] and that of the former Governor of Kigali-Francois Karera between 2006 and 2007.[14] He was also counsel on the Ignace Bagilishema and Alfred Musema trials between 1999 and 2000.[15][16]

Charles joined the United Nations Organization as a lawyer in January 1998 following several years of legal practice in London and Lagos. Since commencing his practice as an international litigation lawyer over a decade ago, he has to date prosecuted twelve genocide trials before an international court, ten of which he led successfully as senior trial attorney and lead counsel.

He has prevailed in trials against some of the world's most reputed litigation lawyers including Ramsey Clarke-–the 66th Attorney-General of the United States (1967–69) and lawyer to controversial figures such as Slobodan Milošević, Radovan Karadzic and Saddam Hussein; Edward Medvene-–who represented Fred Goldman in the civil action against O. J. Simpson over the killing of his son Ron Goldman; French lawyer, François Roux; and Steven Kay QC, the court- appointed lawyer for former Serbian President Slobodan Milošević.

He is a public speaker and lecturer on the field of international law and has been a guest speaker on international litigation and International humanitarian law at several educational institutions worldwide. He has also served as a lecturer in several European Union funded capacity building training workshops on various aspects of international litigation practice including those organised for Judges of the Supreme and High Courts in various civil and common law jurisdictions. He is cited in Creswell's Who's who in Public International Law.[17]

He is currently admitted to practice as lead counsel before several international courts and tribunals, including the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights.

Charles A. Adeogun-Phillips at the STL

Domestic legal career

Before his UN career, Adeogun-Phillips was trained in and practised with several law firms in Lagos and London, where he acted in large-scale litigation and a wide range of commercial disputes. He has expertise in advising sovereign states, governments, international organisations and institutions on inter-state, private, institutional and ad hoc arbitrations. He has acted on matters involving drug trafficking, money laundering and fraud including tracing fraud proceeds, international recognition of anti-money laundering protocols and jurisdictional issues.


  1. "Ayodeji". Online Nigeria: Nigerian Names and meanings. Retrieved November 20, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Guilty pleas in international criminal law" by Nancy Amoury Combs, published by Stanford University Press in 2007,
  3. André Klip and Goran Sluiter, Intersentia 2005[clarification needed]
  17. Who's who in Public International Law 2007, Crestwall Ltd.