Cherif Bassiouni, one of Columbia Global Freedom of Expression’s experts, passed away last Monday, September 25, 2017. Bassiouni participated in the Justice for Free Expression conference held in April 2016 and moderated the panel Global Norms: Emergence, Conflict and Domestication.
Bassiouni was a force to be reckoned with – an amazing legal scholar, one of the founders of international criminal law, and a tireless human rights advocate-diplomat. He authored 35 books and edited 45 more. He was appointed to 22 United Nations high-level positions. He spoke 7 languages fluently. And he championed, tirelessly, for human rights protections in the most difficult countries and situations.
He was a man of conviction who skillfully used diplomacy and scholarship to protect those whose rights were violated and to seek justice on their behalf. This was an unusual and most powerful combination. He spoke a language diplomats and politicians related to, and used it to negotiate the release of those imprisoned, and demand justice.
In person, he was generous with his time and ideas, kind and firm, a complex man, and a great man. A mentor to many.
One of his latest contributions (which he shared with Columbia Global Freedom of Expression) was a brief on behalf of an NGO in Uganda as part of a ground-breaking case in the US to hold Scott Lively, a U.S.-based anti-gay advocate, to account for inciting violence and discrimination against gays and lesbians in Uganda.
Below are two obituaries which further convey Cherif Bassiouni’s considerable intellect and track record.
- DePaul’s M. Cherif Bassiouni, global ‘champion of justice,’ dead at 79
- Bassiouni, former law prof who championed human rights, dies at 79
Cherif Bassiouni’s Valediction