Stéphane Bourgon

Stephane BourgonA criminal lawyer and litigator of international repute, Me Bourgon has been a member of the Québec Bar for almost 20 years.

A graduate of the Royal Military College Saint-Jean (B.Adm.) in 1984, Me Stéphane Bourgon served in the Canadian Armed Forces for more than 20 years. In fact, he began his legal career in the Office of the Judge Advocate General, specializing in criminal law and international law. As a military lawyer, Me Bourgon pleaded cases on numerous occasions – both for the prosecution and the defence – before Standing, Disciplinary, and General (a form of trial by jury) courts-martial.

He also participated in many international missions in Africa and Europe, including, in 1996, as Legal Advisor to the Commander of the 2nd Canadian Multinational Brigade in Bosnia – Herzegovina, deployed as part of the NATO Implementation Force (IFOR).

In 1998, having completed his master’s degree (LL.M.) in international criminal law, Me Bourgon joined the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), where he worked on several large-scale trials before being appointed, in November 1999, as Chef de cabinet to the President of the ICTY; a position he held for more than two years, facilitating liaison between the International Tribunal and the Member States of the Security Council.

Wishing to resume his litigation practice, Me Bourgon became a defence counsel in 2002. Over the past 10 years, he has represented several high-ranking clients including, among others, General Delić (Commander-in-Chief of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina), General Perisić (Chief of Staff of the Army of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia), General Hadžihasanovic (3rd Corps, Central Bosnia), General Šljivančanin (the “Vukovar Hospital” trial) and General Milošević (the “Siege of Sarajevo” trial). He also represented one of the defendants in the largest trial for war crimes in recent years, the Srebrenica genocide trial, which lasted more than three years. Me Bourgon also represented high-ranking clients in Africa, including the late Ange-Félix Patassé, the former President of the Central African Republic, and Laurent Nukunda, the Congolese rebel leader, before national courts and tribunals.

Upon returning to Canada in 2010, Me Bourgon held the position of Senior Director, Communications, Governmental Affairs and Strategic Planning at the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (Rights and Democracy).

On two occasions, Me Bourgon was elected President of the Association of Defence Counsel practicing before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ADC-ICTY). He sits on the Board of Directors of the International Criminal Defence Attorneys Association (ICDAA) and is a member of the International Criminal Bar.

Over the past 15 years, Me Bourgon has accepted more than 150 invitations to act as a guest speaker, teacher and/or trainer for groups of judges, civil servants, military officers, legal professionals and students from many countries including Canada, Switzerland, Russia, Bulgaria, Belarus, the United States of America, Colombia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, France, Belgium, Burundi, the Czech Republic, Italy, Guatemala, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, China, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Poland, Serbia, the Netherlands, Croatia, Ivory Coast, Hungary and Kazakhstan.

Me Bourgon has also written and/or reviewed 18 publications in the fields of criminal and penal law, international criminal law, international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

In 2009, Me Stéphane Bourgon was awarded the advocatus emeritus distinction by the Québec Bar.