26 October 2008

Nigeria: Justice Goldstone to Receive Award for International Justice

The John D. Catherine MacArthur Foundation will honour Justice J. Goldstone, former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia with the MacArthur Award for International Justice, Foundation President Jonathan Fanton revealed yesterday in a statement made available to Sunday Trust.

The award will be conferred on Goldstone in The Hague on 21st May, 2009. Earlier that day, there will be a panel of discussion on "The Legacy of the International Criminal Tribunals and International Systems." According to the statement, the award provides Goldstone with $100 000 for his own work and invites him to suggest an additional $500 000 in support for non-profit organisations working on international justice issues.

The statement added that "as Chief Prosecutor of the Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, Goldstone helped shepherd these courts, the first of their kind since Nazi war criminals were tried at the Nuremberg following World War2. In 1995, Goldstone filed charges of genocide and crimes against humanity against Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic for their roles in the ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims, among other allegations."

It has been gathered that prior to his appointment as Chief Prosecutor in 1994, he was chair of the Commission of Inquiry Regarding Public Violence and Intimidation (referred to as the Goldstone Commission) in the aftermath of apartheid in his native South Africa. His service on the Commission proved invaluable to the democratic transition in the country, where he also served as an inaugural member of the Constitutional Court.

"Justice Goldstone has played an instrumental role in building the emerging international system of justice. He gave the tribunals moral authority and legal credibility. It is, in large part a testament to the quality of his work that the international community accepted the Rome Statue and established the International Criminal Court with confidence. His unquestioned competence and integrity won the faith of the world," Fanton remarked.

The statement also indicated that in selecting Goldstone, the Foundation's Board of Directors cited his role in the development of the modern era of international justice. As Chief prosecutor, he insisted on the independence of counsel and judges, transparency in the establishment of facts in each case, due process for the accused, and the importance of first-hand testimony from witnesses and surviving victims. "His clarity of vision and meticulous approach brought to justice both a degree of resolution to victims and a new model for the prosecution of crimes against humanity."

"It is an honour to receive the MacArthur Award for International Justice, as the Foundation has been a leader in supporting efforts to advance human rights and international justice," Goldstone responded.

The Award honours individuals and organisations that have been transformative forces in the fields of human rights and international justice; improved existing-or helped to create new-institutions, norms, and systems of international justice and demonstrated long-term commitment and made a significant personal contribution to advancing international justice.

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