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Erasmus Prize 2009 -- From Nuremberg to The Hague; Trials by International Tribunals

Stichting Praemium Erasmianum
2009-02-11 05:10 630

Erasmus Prize 2009 Awarded to Antonio Cassese and Benjamin Ferencz

AMSTERDAM, Feb. 13 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- The Praemium Erasmianum Foundation (Amsterdam) has awarded the Erasmus Prize 2009 to two jurists of world renown, the Italian Antonio Cassese and the American Benjamin Ferencz.

The Prize is awarded annually to a person who, within the cultural traditions of Europe, has made an especially important contribution to culture, society or social science in Europe. The prize money is a sum of EUR 150.000. The award ceremony of the Prize will take place in November 2009.

The theme of the Erasmus Prize 2009 is "International Prosecution and Trial of War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity." The Praemium Erasmianum Foundation regards the two laureates as key figures in the international trial of war crimes. Ferencz has fought all his life for an international trial of the most serious violations of humanitarian law and emphasised the importance of individual responsibility; Cassese has played a fundamental role in institutionalising this trial.

Antonio Cassese (1937), professor of international law at the University of Florence, has made both scholarly and practical contributions to the field. In the responsible position of first President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague (elected 1993) he has been of great significance for the functioning of this Tribunal in its earliest period and for the establishment of the authority of this and other tribunals. After resigning as judge in the Yugoslavia Tribunal, Cassese has, among other duties, headed the Commission of Inquiry on Darfur, established by the United Nations Security Council in 2004.

After the trials of Nuremberg the Tokyo international administration of criminal justice has received less attention. Benjamin Ferencz (1920) however, forms the personal link with what is now happening in international criminal law. In 1947-48 he was Chief Prosecutor in Nuremberg. As an engaged citizen, on his personal initiative and only appreciated by private organisations, he has continuously argued for recognition of international humanitarian criminal law. That these institutions have come into being after 1990 is in no small part thanks to his efforts. He has also played an important role in the establishment of the International Criminal Court.

Source: Stichting Praemium Erasmianum
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