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M. Cherif Bassiouni (1937-2017)

Andy Dorchak  /  Friday, September 29, 2017  /  Categories: Just in Case  /  Rate this article:
Cherif Bassiouni, the "Father of International Criminal Law," died in Chicago on Sept. 25, 2017. His amazing career, which spanned over six decades, combined real-world humanitarian service -- investigating crimes from post-Apartheid South Africa to Bahrain in 2011 -- with a prodigious amount of international criminal law scholarship -- dozens of books and over 250 articles. Prof. Bassiouni chaired the 780 Commission, a group of experts appointed by the United Nations to investigate and report on atrocities committed in the former Yugoslavia. In a 2008 book of essays in his honor, CWRU Law co-Dean Michael Scharf and Washington University Law Prof. Leila Sadat noted that "every major international criminal law instrument developed in the past forty years" bore his hallmark.

In a moving tribute, Ohio State Law Professor Mohamed Halel noted that, on at least two occasions, Prof. Bassiouni expanded on the traditional "examine and report" mandate to successfully advocate for the actual release of detainees -- 852 detainees in Afghanistan and two high-profile detainees in Bahrain. While many scholars and institutes have noted Prof. Bassiouni's tireless efforts to establish the International Criminal Court (by means of the Rome Statute), Prof. Halel informs us of Prof. Bassioni's pride in getting rape included as a war crime and crime against humanity in the Rome Statute, a tribute to the many rape victims he had personally interviewed during the investigation in the former Yugoslavia.

The Judge Ben C. Green Law Library has a small collection of documents and photographs donated by Prof. Bassiouni on display on the third floor of the law library. Dean Scharf wrote an article in 2006, "Cherif Bassiouni and the 780 Commission: The Gateway to the Era of Accountability," which describes the significance of the 780 Commission's efforts.

Cherif Bassiouni and the 780 Commission: the gateway to the era of accountability 
Cherif Bassiouni and the 780 Commission: the gateway to the era of accountability 

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