For Immediate Release
"Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) congratulates our distinguished colleague and Board member, Justice Richard J. Goldstone on receiving from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation the prestigious MacArthur Award for International Justice," said PHR CEO Frank Donaghue. "Justice Goldstone has demonstrated exceptional leadership and integrity in helping to build and galvanize support for the emerging international system of justice, and in strengthening international standards of accountability for human rights violations."
Justice Goldstone has spent his career working in many areas of human rights. In the aftermath of apartheid in his native South Africa, he chaired the Commission of Inquiry Regarding Public Violence and Intimidation; this Commission came to be known as the Goldstone Commission. His service on the Commission eased the transition to democracy in that country, where he also served as an inaugural member of the Constitutional Court.
Following his appointment as Chief Prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia in 1994, Goldstone helped shepherd these courts, which were the first to try international war crimes since the Nuremberg Tribunals after World War II. In 1995, Goldstone filed charges of genocide and crimes against humanity against Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic for their roles in the "ethnic cleansing" of Bosnian Muslims, among other allegations. PHR's International Forensic Program played a pivotal role in discovering and documenting key evidence that helped form the basis for these charges. PHR's exhumation and examination of mass graves in Croatia and Bosnia under the auspices of the ICTY's Chief Prosecutor helped lead to successful prosecutions of those responsible for the Srebrenica massacres and other war crimes. PHR's investigation of the mass grave at Kibuye, Rwanda, for the ICTR, at the request of Justice Goldstone, helped secure convictions for the crime of genocide there.
In announcing this award today at American University in Washington, D.C., MacArthur Foundation President Jonathan Fanton observed: "As Chief Prosecutor, Goldstone set a high moral and legal standard for tribunals. He insisted on the independence of counsel and judges, transparency in the establishment of facts in each case, due process for the accused, and the importance of first-hand testimony from witnesses and surviving victims. His clarity of vision and meticulous approach to justice brought both a degree of resolution to victims and a new model for the prosecution of crimes against humanity."
The MacArthur Award for International Justice will be conferred upon Goldstone in The Hague on May 21, 2009. Earlier that day, there will be a panel discussion on "The Legacy of the International Criminal Tribunals in National and International Systems."
The Award, first given to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan in 2008, honors individuals and organizations that have:
- Been transformative forces in the fields of human rights and international justice;
- Improved existing – or helped to create new – institutions, norms, and systems of international justice; and
- Demonstrated long-term commitment and made a significant personal contribution to advancing international justice.
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.