Reaction to the death of Judge Antonio Cassese from the legal community


Judge Sir David Baragwanath, President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

The tragedy of Nino’s departure is beyond words. For members of the Tribunal he was the Maestro, whose towering ability as a jurist and a statesman was equaled by the immense personal warmth and humanity which made him our dear friend. He was a leader whom it was stimulating and a privilege to serve. He created and was the preeminent figure in modern international criminal law. His family extended across the globe to wherever there was injustice. His vision, intellect, dynamism and courage changed attitudes, institutions and lives.

Judge Ralph Riachi, the Vice-President of the Tribunal

With Judge Cassese's death, international justice has lost one of its pioneers. Human rights activists have lost one of their veterans. Our consolation is that he has left to his family, friends, colleagues and students a great patrimony of humanism, science and respect for others. Above all, he taught us that no matter how great your achievements, it is always possible to remain modest.

David Tolbert, President of International Center of Transitional Justice

I join many others in giving a final salute to Nino Cassese. He was man of extraordinary energy, singular determination and extraordinary intellectual talents but at the same time was an unassuming man, with a ready smile, an engaging anecdote and plenty of self-deprecation. Nino was a driving force behind the field of international criminal justice, not only through his leadership of both the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) but through his unstinting writing and advocating on this most crucial of subjects. Put simply, he was a giant in the field, but one would never know this as he pedaled around The Hague on his bike, as he told a story or energetically engaged in discussion on any variety of subjects, with a wry smile and a twinkle in his eye. Long after our days at the ICTY, I more recently worked closely with Nino at the STL. He was always thinking ahead, coming up with ideas, each one again introduced with a twinkle in his eye, but accepting my argument if I pointed out a problem. His good humor was a godsend in troubled times, and he was the best kind of friend: intelligent and persistence but gifted with a deep kindness and humanity that I have seldom witnessed.