Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon paid tribute to Judge Antonio Cassese, a renowned legal expert who died yesterday, calling him “a giant of international law” and a loyal friend to the United Nations.
Judge Cassese, who also taught international law to generations of students around the world, passed away at his home in the Italian city of Florence at the age of 74.
He had a long and distinguished career, during which he assisted the UN in a number of capacities. He was the first President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the first President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. He stepped down from the latter post recently due to illness.
Also, as independent expert he reviewed the judicial efficiency of the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), and led the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur.
“In these and many other functions Antonio Cassese shaped the development of international criminal justice and made a major contribution to fighting impunity and bringing about an age of accountability,” Mr. Ban said in a statement issued by his spokesperson.
“The United Nations will fondly remember Antonio Cassese as a giant of international law, as a loyal friend who was always there when the Organization needed his wise counsel and dedicated services, and mostly as an exceptionally charming and warm human being who courageously stood up for justice, for human rights and for humanity,” the statement added.