The ICJ mourns the loss of Professor Pedro Nikken

The ICJ mourns the loss of Professor Pedro Nikken, former President and Commissioner of the ICJ. Prof Nikken was elected ICJ President in January 2011, succeeding Mary Robinson (2008-2010) and followed by Nigel Rodley (2012-2017).

“Pedro Nikken left a tremendous legacy of respect for the rule of law and defense of human rights in his homeland of Venezuela, across Latin America and around the world,” said Prof Robert Goldman, the ICJ’s President.

“ Like so many others, I have lost a cherished friend and mentor whose company I will greatly miss,” he added.

Prof Nikken was a former Judge (1979-1989) and President (1983-1985) of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. He served as UN Independent Expert on El Salvador from 1992 to 1995 and from 1990-1992 he served as Legal Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on El Salvador’s peace process.

In 1995 he served as Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General to Burundi. He is former Dean and Professor (emeritus) at the Law School of the Universidad Central de Venezuela.

He was also former President and Permanent Counselor of the InterAmerican Institute of Human Rights. He was a Member (Chair N° 9) of the Venezuelan National Academy of Political and Social Sciences.

“Prof Nikken helped drive the ICJ’s work in pursuit of justice and accountability, particularly through regional human rights systems such as the Inter American Court of Human Rights, even as various governments tried to weaken the process and evade responsibility,” said Sam Zarifi, ICJ Secretary General.

“Pedro was indefatigable as a human rights defender and unsurpassed in the quality of his legal analysis, a rare combination of qualities that made him a role model for several generations of human rights lawyers around the world,” he added.

Pedro Nikken was born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1945. He graduated in 1968 from the Andres Bello Catholic University and obtained a diploma of higher studies in law at the Pentheon-Assas University (Paris II) and a doctorate in law from the University of Carabobo.

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