Charles is an accomplished international criminal litigation lawyer and former international prosecutor. For over 25 years, he has litigated cases before courts in Nigeria, the United Kingdom and at various international courts and tribunals. His areas of practice are International criminal, International humanitarian law, international human rights law, International asset tracing/recovery, and international dispute resolution and debt recovery.
He founded Charles Anthony LLP, following a distinguished legal career as a pioneer lead international prosecutor and head of special investigations at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia which spanned over 12 years.
Charles joined the UN in December 1997 from private practice as a criminal defence lawyer in the UK. For over a decade, he led with great success, teams of international lawyers in the precedent setting, complex and pioneering prosecution of those who bore the greatest responsibility for the 1994 Rwandan genocide during which, an estimated 800,000 civilians were killed. His elevation in 2001 to the rank of senior counsel before an international court at the age of 35 is unrivaled.
His tenure as lead international prosecutor, championing the cause of the victims of large-scale international crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, in 12 separate international criminal trials, exposed him to legal practice along-side some of the world’s finest legal practitioners and placed him in the forefront of several pioneering developments in the field of international humanitarian and criminal law, cumulating in his citation in the maiden edition of Creswell’s “Who’s Who in Public International Law” in 2007 and in the International Year Book and Statesmen's Who's Who in 2011.
Charles returned to private practice in June 2010 and is currently admitted to practice as senior counsel before several international and regional courts including the International Criminal Court and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon at The Hague and at the African Court on Human and People’s Rights in Tanzania.
Domestically, Charles has acted in several large-scale ‘white-collar’ prosecution and defence matters involving a wide range of electronic and financial crimes, including money laundering; advance fee fraud; large scale importation of narcotics; excise duty and complex corporate fraud, anti-corruption and graft, counterfeiting and other violations of intellectual property rights. He has also advised domestic and international law enforcement, anti-graft and regulatory agencies, on tracing proceeds of fraud; stolen asset recovery; anti-money laundering protocols; extradition, jurisdictional issues; intellectual property protection and exploitation.
Charles’ advisory practice in the area of international criminal and humanitarian law has included providing specialist advice to the Nigerian Government in connection with the preliminary examinations launched by the ICC into alleged crimes against humanity or war crimes committed in the context of armed conflict between “Boko Haram” and Nigerian security forces; to the Military Defence Headquarters in Nigeria, following Amnesty International’s allegations of extra judicial killings of “Boko Haram” members by the Nigerian Armed Forces and to several African countries on ICC related transitional justice issues.
He also has expertise in advising sovereign states, governments, international organisations and institutions on inter-state, private, institutional and ad hoc arbitrations. He has also acted on several development finance matters including acting as legal adviser in transactions involving the African Development Bank ("AfDB") and other regional and multilateral Development Financial Institutions, such as Shelter Afrique, the European Investment Bank and the World Bank (IBRD Line of Credit Facilities).
In 2013, he represented The Right Rev Christopher Mtikila, the outspoken Tanzanian opposition politician before the African Court on Human and People’s Rights, in a landmark and precedent setting case against the United Republic of Tanzania, wherein the plaintiff successfully challenged the constitutional prohibition against independent candidature for election into public office, as a violation of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. He also represented Rev Mtikila in his claim for reparations and/or compensation that followed thereafter. The Mtikila vs. Tanzania case was the first and as at December 2014, the only case, the AfCHPR has heard and decided on the merits, since its’ inception in 1998.
In November 2016, Charles was appointed by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) to lead several high profile and unprecedented corruption trials including that of a serving Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Sylvester Ngwuta JSC and that of Chief Registrar of the said apex Court, Alhaji Gambo Saleh, who was charged with two senior administrators. The said case was subsequently withdrawn by the FGN in February 2017. In 2016, he was instructed by a Scottish owned, UAE based, oil Services Company under investigation for its involvement in a 10 Million US Dollar internal procurement/contract-kick-back fraud case filed against it by a Georgian Oil Company before the National Prosecution Authorities in the UAE.
In 2017, he was instructed as counsel in a $153 Million US Dollar asset forfeiture case brought by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission of Nigeria against a 1st tier financial institution and a High-Net-Worth Defendant. Since October 2017, he has been engaged by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to trace and recover assets from various obligors and is the AMCON appointed Receiver of several companies including the Gateway Portland Cement Company Ltd.
Charles has published several articles in the areas of International criminal law, victim compensation and the “complementarity principle” in the Rome Statute of the ICC. He is a sought-after public speaker and has been invited as a guest speaker on several national and international TV programmes and at several prestigious educational institutions worldwide on various aspects of investigating and prosecuting international crimes, international law, corruption, tracing and/or repatriating stolen assets, victim compensation and/or reparations.
His work on behalf of the victims of the Rwandan genocide has been the subject of several books including, "Court of Remorse" by Thierry Cruvellier (Wisconsin Press 2010), “Guilty Pleas in International Criminal law" by Nancy Amoury Combs (Stanford University Press 2007) and “Annotated Leading Cases of International Criminal Tribunals” by André Klip and Goran Sluiter (Intersentia 2005). He also appears in a documentary film “Towards Reconciliation”, Produced by the United Nations in 2004.
He has served as a lecturer in several European Union funded capacity building training workshops on various aspects of domestic and international criminal litigation practice including those organised for prosecutors, judges of the supreme and high courts in various civil and common law jurisdictions and for AU and UN peacekeeping personnel. He is currently a visiting lecturer on international humanitarian law at the National Defence College and at the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.
Charles was educated at CMS Grammar School Lagos, and Repton School, Derbyshire England, following which he read law at Warwick University from where he graduated in 1989 and at the School of African and Oriental Studies, University of London where he obtained his masters degree in law in 1994. He is admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales, a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a Notary Public.
He is an active member of various professional associations including, the Law Society of England and Wales, the African Association of International Law and the International Criminal Court Bar Association. He is the former Vice-Chairman of the International Legal Practice Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association and the Chairman Board of Trustees, New Faces New Voices (Nigeria), a pan-African organisation of women in finance founded by Her Excellency, Mrs. Graça Machel, the wife of the former South African President, the late Madiba Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
For over 25 years, Charles has litigated cases before courts in Nigeria, the United Kingdom and at various international courts and tribunals and is able to offer his clients a rare and distinctive blend of both domestic and international experience. He founded Charles Anthony LLP following a distinguished legal career as a pioneer lead International Prosecutor, Senior Counsel and Head of Special Investigations at the United Nations, spanning over 12 years. Between 1998 and 2010, Charles led with great success, teams of international lawyers in 12 separate precedent setting, complex and pioneering international criminal trials. During his tenure at the UN, Charles was involved in historic and ground-breaking legal work in what was soon to become, the fastest growing and emerging area of Public International Law, cumulating in his citation in the maiden edition of Creswell’s “Who’s Who in Public International Law” in 2007 and in the International Year Book and Statesmen’s Who’s Who in 2011. His advisory practice in the area of international criminal law has included providing specialist advice to the Military Defence Headquarters in Nigeria, following Amnesty International’s allegations of extra judicial killings of members the “Boko Haram” terrorist group by Nigerian Armed Forces personnel and to several African countries on ICC related transitional justice issues. In 2013, he represented Christopher Mtikila, Tanzanian opposition politician before the African Court on Human and People’s Rights, in a landmark and precedent setting case against the United Republic of Tanzania, wherein he successfully challenged the constitutional prohibition against independent candidature for election into public office, as a violation of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. In 2016, Charles was appointed by the Federal Government of Nigeria to lead the high profile and unprecedented corruption trial of a serving Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Sylvester Ngwuta, JSC. He has also acted for a Nigerian Government parastatal and several international fuel bunker supply companies in asset tracing and debt recovery matters both domestically and internationally and serves as both a court and/or regulator-appointed Receiver to under-performing businesses.
1992 Admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor, Supreme Court of Nigeria 1996 Admitted as a Solicitor, Supreme Court of England and Wales 2011 Admitted to List of Counsel, International Criminal Court 2011 Admitted to List of Counsel, African Court on Human and People’s Rights 2014 Appointed as a Notary Public of Nigeria
1989 LL.B (Hons), University of Warwick, United Kingdom 1994 LL.M, SOAS, University of London, United Kingdom
2008 Member, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators 2016 Executive Committee Member, International Criminal Court Bar Association 2017 Business Recovery & Insolvency Practitioners Association of Nigeria
Areas of Practice
Insolvency International Criminal and Human Rights Law International and Domestic Dispute Resolution “White-Collar” Criminal Prosecution and Defence International and Domestic Debt/Asset Recovery