A practising attorney in Canada as a member of the Québec Bar for over twenty five years, Elise Groulx is an expert in international criminal law. She was one of the first two elected co-presidents...
A practising attorney in Canada as a member of the Québec Bar for over twenty five years, Elise Groulx is an expert in international criminal law. She was one of the first two elected co-presidents of the International Criminal Bar (the “ICB”), along with Paul-Albert Iweins, Dean of the Paris Bar, from March 2003 through 2005. In December 2005, she became honorary president of the ICB and continues to serve in that role today. She is also the founder and president of the International Criminal Defence Attorneys Association (ICDAA) who played an active role in the creation of the International Criminal Court.
Elise Groulx is very involved in the development of a strong and fair international justice system while promoting access to justice and the full exercise of fundamental rights for all, in post-conflict and transitional societies. She has given numerous lectures on international criminal justice and led many workshops in international criminal law around the world. She has also been involved in managing rule of law projects in post-conflict settings since 2005, most notably a multi-year legal aid project in Afghanistan.
She has spent her entire career as a practising criminal defence attorney in Montréal, building a long track record pleading complex court cases as well as in plea bargaining and negotiation. She has had extensive experience working with indigent clients and has dealt with controversial issues such as police brutality and a “self defence review” of the cases of women who claimed to have killed their partners in legitimate self-defence.
In recent years, she has advised multinational businesses and other organizations in Europe and Canada on international criminal law and corporate liability. Specifically, she has consulted on the criminal liability of business executives for alleged participation in international crimes and human rights abuse committed by repressive regimes in conflict zones. She recently completed a two-year research project on the issue of “business complicity” in war crimes and formulated a due-diligence framework for use by a major multinational corporation in assessing investments in conflict-prone countries.
She led the preparation of a policy paper on corporate complicity under Canadian criminal law that was submitted by the ICDAA to the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in Geneva.1 She has also spoken on these topics, notably at an IBA annual meeting in 2003 in San Francisco.
She was elected to the Board of Directors of the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations in 2005 and continues to serve as a director today. In 2009, the Québec Bar’s Executive Committee appointed her to a working group to draft its international relations policy.
A well-known international consultant and lecturer, Ms. Groulx has been awarded several professional distinctions including the Medal of the Paris Bar, the Medal of the Québec Bar (the highest award a lawyer can achieve in Québec), and the medal of Université de Montréal’s law school. She received the Champion of Justice Award from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in the United States. The Québec Bar awarded her the title of Advocatus Emeritus (Ad.E.) in 2006. In addition, she is an honorary member of the Bar of Draguignan in France and is an honorary professor at the University Inca Garcilazo de la Vega, in Lima, Peru.
Most recently, Ms Groulx was selected by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) which decided to honour her as one of 20 outstanding Canadians for her contribution to the rule of law and to the defence of civil liberties in Canada and elsewhere in the world. She will receive her award in 2012 because her schedule did not permit her to attend the 2011 ceremony to be held in June in Toronto.
Elise Groulx was educated in Montréal and has a BA in Political Science from the Université de Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and a law degree, with distinction, from the Université de Montréal. She has a certificate in criminology and comparative criminal law from the University of Paris II (Panthéon-Assas) and an L.L.M. in criminology and comparative criminal law from the London School of Economics. She recently participated in a workshop in the Advanced Study of Nonviolent Conflict at the Tufts University Fletcher Summer Institute. She is also an accredited mediator.