Mahmoud Cherif Bassiouni

Mahmoud Cherif Bassiouni has done it all. Known as the ‘Godfather of International Criminal Law’, Bassiouni dedicated his life to develop international justice. Born and raised in Egypt, he was sent to law school in France and later Switzerland where he became an activist in the student anti-colonial movement. In 1956, after helping training Algerian the troops who struggled for their independence against the French, he was expelled from France and returned to Egypt. In Cairo, while working for the presidential staff, he started denouncing the practice of torture in his country. Ironically, he was arrested and a victim of torture himself. His fight to criminal law officially started from this point. He left Egypt to come to the US and drafted amongst the most important human rights treaties as the Convention Against Torture and the Apartheid Convention. He worked for Amnesty International, for the United Nations, and is considered one of the founders of the International Criminal Court. In 1999 he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, which he did not win, as Médecin Sans Frontières received the award.


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