Steering Committee Profiles

Crimes Against Humanity Initiative, Blue-Ribbon Steering Committee Plans International Treaty Draft, to Convene Experts Roundtable in April 2009. 

Professor Leila Sadat 

Leila Nadya Sadat

The Director of the Harris Institute is Professor Leila Sadat.  Professor Sadat is an internationally recognized authority in international criminal law and human rights and a prolific scholar, publishing in leading journals in the United States and abroad.  Trained in both the French and American legal systems, Sadat brings a cosmopolitan perspective to her work.  She is particularly well known for her expertise on the International Criminal Court, and was a delegate to the U.N. Preparatory Committee and to the 1998 diplomatic conference in Rome at which the Court was established.

Professor Sadat has published a series of articles on the Court and an award-winning monograph, “The International Criminal Court and the Transformation of International Law,” which was supported by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Peace.  She has written extensively on the question of amnesties for atrocity crimes as part of the Princeton Project on Universal Jurisdiction, and authored several follow-up pieces.  From May 2001 until September 2003, Sadat served on the nine-member U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom.

Professor Sadat has already secured the commitments of M. Cherif Bassiouni, Hans Corell, Richard Goldstone, Juan Méndez, William Schabas, and Christine Van Den Wyngaert to be members of the Steering Committee for the Convention.  Their qualifications are discussed below:

M. Cherif Bassiouni 

M. Cherif Bassiouni

M. Cherif Bassiouni is a Distinguished Research Professor of Law at DePaul University College of Law and the founder and President Emeritus of the International Human Rights Law Institute.  Professor Bassiouni has served the United Nations in a number of capacities, including: Member and then Chairman of the Security Council's Commission to Investigate War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia (1992-94); Commission on Human Rights Independent Expert on The Rights to Restitution, Compensation and Rehabilitation for Victims of Grave Violations of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1998-2000); Vice-Chairman of the General Assembly's Ad Hoc Committee on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court (1995); and Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the 1998 Diplomatic Conference on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court. 

In 1999, Professor Bassiouni was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in the field of international criminal justice and for his contribution to the creation of the International Criminal Court. He has received numerous medals and awards for his service to the international community, including the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit (Commander), Federal Republic of Germany (2003) and the Legion d’Honneur (Officier), Republic of France (2003). 

Professor Bassiouni is the author of 27 books, the editor of 44 books, and the author of 217 articles on a wide range of legal issues, including international criminal law, comparative criminal law, and international human rights law. He served as President of the International Association of Penal Law from 1989 to 2004, and presently serves as the Association’s Honorary President.

Hans Corell 

Hans Corell

Hans Corell is a former judge and diplomat, now active on his own in the field of international law. He was Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and the Legal Counsel of the United Nations from 1994 to 2004. In this capacity, he was head of the Office of Legal Affairs in the U.N. Secretariat. Before joining the United Nations in 1994, Mr. Corell was Ambassador and Under-Secretary for Legal and Consular Affairs in his country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1984 to 1994. He served for 13 years in the Ministry of Justice, in the capacity of Under-Secretary for Legal Affairs (1981-84), Assistant Under-Secretary (1979-81), and Legal Adviser (in 1972 and from 1974 to 1979). Interspersed with his service in the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Corell served as an additional Member of the Svea Court of Appeal (1973), as Associate Judge of Appeal (1974), and as Judge of Appeal (1980). 

Mr. Corell was a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague from 1990. He was Chairman of the Working Group at the 1992 CSCE Expert Meeting on Peaceful Settlement of Disputes, held in Geneva. He was the Secretary-General’s Representative to the United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court, held in Rome in June and July of 1998. 

Richard Goldstone 

Ricard Goldstone

Richard Goldstone is a former justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa and was the first Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda.  He currently chairs a committee to advise the United Nations on appropriate steps to preserve the archives and legacy of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. 

Justice Goldstone was appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to the Independent International Committee, which investigated the Iraq Oil for Food program. Among his other professional endeavors, Goldstone served as chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry regarding Public Violence and Intimidation that came to be known as the Goldstone Commission; and of the International Independent Inquiry on Kosovo. He also was co-chairperson of the International Task Force on Terrorism, which was established by the International Bar Association; director of the American Arbitration Association; a member of the International Group of Advisers of the International Committee of the Red Cross; and national president of the National Institute of Crime Prevention and the Rehabilitation of Offenders (NICRO).  He is also a foreign member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an honorary member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. 

In January 2008 he received the World Peace Through Law Award from the Harris Institute.

Juan E. Méndez 

Juan E. Méndez

Juan E. Méndez is the former President of the International Center for Transitional Justice. Mr. Méndez has a long and distinguished record of advocacy in defense of human rights in the Western Hemisphere.  For 15 years, he worked with Human Rights Watch, concentrating his efforts on human rights issues in the western hemisphere. In 1994, he became general counsel of Human Rights Watch, with worldwide duties in support of the organization's mission, including responsibility for the organization's litigation and standard-setting activities. 

From 1996 to 1999, Mr. Méndez has served as the executive director of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights in Costa Rica and as a member and President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States. From 2004 to 2007, Mr. Méndez was appointed the United Nations special adviser on the prevention of genocide, a post that was complementary to his full-time position as the president of the ICTJ.  Juan Méndez is currently a Visiting Professor of Law at American University's Washington College of Law teaching courses on Human Rights and Prevention of Genocide.

William A. Schabas  

William A. Schabas

Professor William A. Schabas is Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland, Galway, where he also holds the chair in human rights law. He is the author of numerous monographs, has published more than 170 scholarly articles, and has edited many collections of essays in the field of international human rights law.  His works have been cited in judgments of many of the world's leading constitutional and international courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, the Supreme Court of Canada and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. 

Professor Schabas has often participated in international human rights missions on behalf of nongovernmental organizations such as Amnesty International, the International Federation of Human Rights, and the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development to Rwanda, Burundi, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Cambodia and Guyana. He is legal counsel to Amnesty International Ireland. He is a member of the board of several international human rights organizations, and was an NGO delegate to the United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court in July 1998. 

In May 2002, the President of Sierra Leone appointed Professor Schabas to the country's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, upon the recommendation of Mary Robinson, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. He served as one of three international commissioners from 2002 to 2004.

Dr. Christine Van Den Wyngaert  

Dr. Christine Van Den Wyngaert

Dr. Christine Van Den Wyngaert is a judge at the International Criminal Court and a former judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague. Elected by the General Assembly of the United Nations in November 2004, Judge Van Den Wyngaert is a specialist in international criminal law, criminal procedure and comparative criminal law. 

As a professor at the University of Antwerp, a researcher and the author of many books, Judge Van Den Wyngaert has made a considerable contribution to the development of international criminal law. Professor Van Den Wyngaert was a judge ad hoc at the International Court of Justice in the 2000-02 Arrest Warrants case (Belgium v. D.R. Congo). Before serving as a permanent judge at the ICTY, she served as a judge ad litem in the Strugar and Limay trials.  Judge Van Den Wyngaert was Rapporteur for the International Law Association on extradition and human rights and a general reporter for the Association Internationale de Droit Pénal in Budapest relating to international criminal cooperation for organised crime. In 2001, she was awarded a doctorate honoris causa of the University of Uppsala in Sweden.

Crimes Against Humanity Initiative - 2009