Judge Antonio Cassese, Ave Atque Vale

by Kenneth Anderson

Opinio Juris learns with sadness of the passing of Judge Antonio Cassese, one of the pioneers of international criminal justice, following a long battle with cancer.  If you like, leave any remembrances or tributes in the comments.  For my part, I remember Judge Cassese most from the 1980s, at various international humanitarian law meetings, and then particularly around the time of the formation of the Yugoslavia tribunal, when he would sometimes visit the offices of Human Rights Watch or the Open Society Institute.  I remember him best as a intellectual with great passion – and a great sense of humor.


4 Responses

  1. Very sad news. I met him personally once when he came to our headquarters in the IDF to talk about practical ideas to improve respect of the laws of war. What was so special was that he really wanted to listen and learn and not try to educate and preach (and that he insisted that I call him Tito and not Judge Cassese, which I felt embarassed to do).   

  2. I have never met him but I have read him and the light of a great one has dimmed.  Peace on his soul.

  3. Nino was the pater familias of modern international criminal justice. I, like many others working in this field, owe much to him.  His mentorship when I was just graduating from law school played a crucial role in the trajectory of my career.  He was a towering intellect, with seemingly inexhaustible energy, who was also charming and humble in person.  His legal arguments set the conceptual landscape against which competing positions will be debated and evaluated for years to come.  From Tadic and JCE to Lebanon and terrorism, he was always at the forefront of the most important issues in the field.  His light will live on in the law.

  4. International law community missed a great man. Prof. Cassese was among those publicists who tried to humanize international law faster than the current trend in ICJ. This task is evident in his workings in particular during his career in ICTY. we remember the remarks cited in Tadic Case:
    “A State-soverignty-oriented approach has been gradually supplanted by a hauman being-oriented-approach.”

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