Christopher Black

Christopher Black

Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer and political activist based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He has been involved in high-profile cases involving human rights and war crimes and has defended those accused of these crimes in Rwanda (see Rwandan Genocide) and the former Yugoslavia and is on the list of counsel at the International Criminal Court.



He graduated from McMaster University, with an honours B.A. summa cum laude and from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University with an LL.B. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and speaks English, French and Swahili.


Relating to the Rwandan Genocide

Black has written several articles about the role of the ad hoc war crimes tribunals as instruments of US war policy and regarding the 1994 conflict in Rwanda, arguing that its standard interpretation as a genocide of the country's Tutsi population is fraudulent condidering it to be a "myth".[1] He notes that the Tutsi-led Rwandese Patriotic Front had been conducting a war of aggression from Uganda against Rwanda with U.S. and British support since 1990, and alleges that the RPF was responsible for the 1994 plane crash which killed the Hutu presidents of Burundi and Rwanda. Black also argues that many of the deaths which occurred in the resulting upheaval were perpetrated by RPF members, rather than by the extremist Hutu groups which have generally been held responsible for the country's descent into chaos.

Black defended General Augustin Ndindiliyimana,[2] the former chief of staff of Rwanda's Gendarmerie or National Police Force, and highest ranking Rwandan military officer, before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania who was convicted May 17, 2011 of genocide based on simple failure to punish some subordinates for alleged crimes which conviction is under appeal. He was acquitted of dozens of charges that he ordered massacres, failed to protect civilians, conspiracy to commit genocide, or personally was involved in killing Tutsis. The ICTR ordered his released after having already spent 11 years in prison as the judges found he had risked his life to save Tutsis, including hiding 37 Tutsi orphans at his home in Kigali along with several Tutsi priests, supported the Arusha Accords, opposed massacres, did all he could to achieve peace and was himself targeted as a possible RPF agent and was forced to flee Rwanda in June, 1994. Readers can refer to the judgement at the ICTR website. Black, and other defence lawyers, went on strike in early 2004, claiming that the tribunal was being used by the U.S. for political ends and that a fair hearing was impossible. He has been the subject of several death threats as a result of his work at the Rwanda tribunal and the subject of threats and intimidation from the current RPF Rwandan regime.

Relating to the former Yugoslavia

Black criticized the detainment of Slobodan Milošević at the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. He met with Milošević on many occasions, and said the former Serbian leader was completely innocent of the charges brought against him. On one occasion, Black argued that Milošević was consistently committed to a multi-ethnic Yugoslavia during his time in government. He is presently engaged by the widow of President Milosevic, Mira Markovic, to investigate the death of President Milosevic and the responsibility of the ICTY, UN and Nato for his death.

Black has argued that the leaders of NATO should themselves be brought before the tribunal for war crimes, and was one of a group of Canadian lawyers who laid war crimes charges against all Nato leaders and officers in 1999 for the bombing of Yugoslavia. He has described former tribunal chief prosecutor, and current head of the UN Human Rights Commission, Louise Arbour, as an unindicted war criminal,[3] because of her cooperation with NATO leaders during the 1999 bombing of Serbia and because, as Chief Prosecutor at the Rwanda War Crimes Tribunal she stopped the investigation into the murder of the Hutu Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi on April 6, 1994 when their plane was shot down by anti-aircraft missiles after she learned that the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) were responsible, a fact confirmed by both her lead investigator, Australian lawyer Michael Hourigan and as contained in the Hourigan Report, a UN document, now an exhibit in the Miitary II trial, ICTR. He states she stopped the investigation on the orders of the USA. Black also helped to create the International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milošević (ICDSM), is a vice-chair of that committee and is chair of its legal committee,[2] although he did not have a formal role at Milošević's trial.

He has also assisted the legal team of Dr. Seselj, the head of the Serbian Radical Party, also held in detention by the ICTY.

Politics and other work

In addition to his legal career, Black helped establish the Unemployed Workers' Council in Toronto in 1996. He has run for political office as a candidate of the Communist Party of Canada and its provincial affiliate, the Communist Party of Canada - Ontario.

In 2003 he travelled to Beijing, China and The Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea with a team of American lawyers to meet with Korean lawyers in Pyongyang and subsequently co-authored a report on conditions in the DPRK. He states that the DPRK is a progressive, socialist country deserving the support of all progressive peoples around the world. He is also a member of the Committee To Defend the Cuba Five. He contributed a chapter on Central Africa and a chapter on North Korea in the Atlas Alternatif published by Les Temps des Cerises in Paris, 2006, a broad survey of the struggle against global imperialism since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

He has been invited to speak on the ad hoc war crimes tribunals and international criminal law in Britain, Canada, the United States, Russia, Cuba, Yugoslavia, Germany, The Netherlands, and France and has been interviewed on the BBC, CBC, CNN, ABC, Radio Havana and various other media regarding international law and justice. He is a member of the American Association of Jurists, the National Lawyers Guild of America, and Lawyers Against War.

He also writes poetry ranging from whimsical fantasy to cold realism and has a had a number of poems published in the People's Voice dealing with the harsh reality of modern capitalism such as Smiling Carnviore and, Unemployed On A Rainy Day and Spare Change.

He attributes his charged style of advocacy to his theatrical training at the New School of Drama in Toronto where he studied under Tony Pearse.

Views on AIDS

Christopher Black is listed as a member by the Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV-AIDS Hypothesis.[2] He was also a signatory to a December 2008 letter which urged the journal Science to retract a number of scientific papers from the early 1980s in which a link between HIV and AIDS was first alleged by Dr. Gallo.[4] He supports the Perth Group of scientists and physicians, who posit that AIDS is not caused by a viral agent but by malnutrition, poverty and chemical poisoning.


  1. ^ Christopher Black "Letters on Rwanda, World Socialist Web Site, 13 February 2009
  2. ^ a b c David Aaronovitch "PR man to Europe's nastiest regimes", The Guardian, 30 November 2004
  3. ^ Christopher Black and Edward S. Herman "Louise Arbour: Unindicted War Criminal", Global Resistance website, 14 June 2000
  4. ^ Press Release "Top Scientists Ask Journal Science To Retract Original AIDS Papers", Rethinking AIDS, 9 December 2008

5. ALJAZEERA.NET 2011-05-17 "Ex-Rwanda army chief sentenced for genocide: UN court in Tanzanian city of Arusha jails Augustine Bizimungu for 30 years for role in Rwanda's 1994 genocide"

External links

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