DePaul College of Law professor M. Cherif Bassiouni has been awarded the prestigious Hague Prize for International Law in a ceremony that took place recently in the Netherlands at the Peace Palace in The Hague. Recognized globally for his work to advance human rights through law, Bassiouni was selected for the award because of his outstanding contributions to the study and promotion of international criminal law and specifically for his work to create the International Criminal Court, which is based in The Hague.
Bassiouni is the second recipient of The Hague Prize, which was established in 2002 and is awarded at least every two years. Diplomat and Israeli law professor Shabtai Rosenne was the first awardee in 2004. According to the Hague Prize Foundation, which awards the Hague Prize, it can be given to physical or legal persons whose publications or achievements in the practice of law make a special contribution to the development of public or private international law or to the advancement of the rule of law in the world. The award includes an estimated $67,000 prize.
Bassiouni, who is the founder and president emeritus of DePaul’s International Human Rights Law Institute, has been a member of the College of Law faculty for more than 40 years.
Highlights of his career include:
From 1992 to 1994 he chaired the U.N. Security Council’s Commission to investigate war crimes in the former Yugoslavia. That work led to the establishment of an international tribunal in The Hague to prosecute war criminals.
Between 1994 and 1998 he worked within the United Nations on the establishment of the International Criminal Court – for four years as vice-chair of the General Assembly’s special committee, and in 1998 as chair of the Drafting Committee at the Rome Diplomatic Conference which established the court. That work earned him a Nobel Peace Prize nomination in 1999.
In 2004 he was appointed by theUnited Nations Secretary General as the Independent Expert for human rights in Afghanistan. His scathing report revealed an array of serious human rights violations that included repressive actions by factional commanders acting outside of government control and violations by state security forces and the national police.
From 1998 to 2000 Bassiouni was the independent expert for the Commission on Human Rights on The Rights to Restitution, Compensation and Rehabilitation for Victims of Grave Violations of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
In 1977 to 1978, he was co-chair of the Committee of Experts that drafted the United Nations Convention Against Torture.