Arthur Chaskalson mourned

It was with great sadness that the ICJ learned of the death of its former President Arthur Chaskalson at the age of 81 this weekend.

A renowned human rights lawyer and a tenacious opponent of the apartheid government, Arthur Chaskalson was part of Nelson Mandela’s defence team in the 1963 Rivonia Trial, which saw Mandela and other ANC leaders sentenced to life.

He then helped establish the Legal Resources Centre, a non-profit organization seeking to use the law to pursue justice and human rights around South Africa. He ran the Centre from 1978 until 1993.

President of South Africa’s Constitutional Court (1994-2001), Chaskalson became Chief Justice of the same court from 2001 to 2005, after which he retired.

He was elected as an ICJ Comissioner in 1995 and served as President of the organization from 2002 to 2008.

In 2005, the ICJ convened the Eminent Jurists Panel, comprising eight leading international experts who spent three years conducting a worldwide investigation into the impact of counter-terrorism laws and practice on human rights globally.

Arthur Chaskalson chaired the panel, which held 16 hearings covering forty countries in all regions of the world.

Chaskalson also played a major role in the panel’s report, which concluded that many States had confronted the threat of terrorism with ill-conceived measures undermining the Rule of Law and human rights, which has proved to be an important reference for the post 9/11 era.




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