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Peace, Justice and the Rule of Law

The last two decades have witnessed big steps forward in efforts to bring perpetrators of international crimes to justice. There has also been a sharp rise in international attention to the “rule of law.” How has the field of international justice changed? Why is establishing rule of law in fragile and post-conflict societies important and what are the challenges to doing so? The success of rule of law reforms often seems to hinge on political will; how can this political will be created, and what incentives encourage it? Have Western countries led by example?

Louise Arbour has served as president and chief executive officer of the International Crisis Group since July 2009. Previously, she acted as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2004-2008. A Canadian national, she began her academic career in 1974 and in 1977 was named associate professor and associate dean at York University's Osgoode Hall Law School. In 1987, she was appointed to the Supreme Court of Ontario, and in 1990 to the Court of Appeal for Ontario. In 1996, she was appointed by the United Nations Security Council as chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, and in 1999 was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada. She has received numerous honorary doctorates and awards, and is a member of many distinguished professional societies and organizations. She received her undergraduate degree from Montreal's College Regina Assumpta, and her LL.L from the University of Montreal.

Interviewed by M. Cherif Bassiouni, Distinguished Research Professor of Law at DePaul University College of Law; President Emeritus at the International Human Rights Law Institute.

Generous support for the Chicago and the World Forum series each year is provided by the McCormick Foundation.


Recorded Thursday, April 08, 2010 at Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies.

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