Legal academic and human rights activist whose work led to the creation of two international criminal courts

The Egyptian law professor Cherif Bassiouni, who has died aged 79, made an important contribution to the struggle for global justice and to the revival of the Nuremberg legacy. His work, both academic and in his UN reports from war zones, led to the creation of two international criminal courts.

In 1992, he was appointed by the UN to chair a commission of experts to examine war crimes in the former Yugoslavia. His report delivered a searing verdict on the behaviour of all parties to the Balkan wars, but especially on the Serbs under Slobodan Milošević. It argued, in a novel development of the law of war, that through using rape as an instrument of ethnic cleansing, the Serb commanders were guilty of a crime against humanity.

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