The Hon. Louise Arbour has an impressive life’s record both on the national scene, with an exemplary judicial career that took her from the Ontario Supreme Court to the Supreme Court of Canada, and on the international scene. She was involved with the United Nations as Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, and as High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2004 to 2008. Her tireless and courageous efforts with the war crimes tribunals brought convictions against 60 people charged with participating in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. She became the first UN prosecutor to indict a serving head of state (Slobodan Milosevic) for war crimes. These tribunals served as catalyst for the creation of the International Criminal Court in 2002 – a major realisation of the international community and of the UN.
Mme Arbour subsequently served as President & CEO of the International Crisis Group until 2014. In addition to involvement in the International Commission Against the Death Penalty and the Global Commission on Drug Policy, she is currently a jurist-in-residence, providing strategic advice to lawyers of the International Trade and Arbitration Group and mentoring to younger lawyers.
The selection jury especially commended Mme Arbour’s actions of personal courage beyond her professional remit: that through her professional life she has shown leadership and resolve when confronted with despicable perpetrators and their protectors. Her leadership is a model – professional and personal - for young men and women aspiring to making peaceful change in the world through the enforcement of law and justice for all.