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Life and service of M.C. Bassiouni

M.C. Bassiouni was a Distinguished Research Professor of Law at DePaul University, where he taught for 45 years (since 1964), and the President of the International Human Rights Law Institute (since 1990). He was also the President of the International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Sciences, Siracusa, Italy (since 1988), the Honorary President of the International Association of Penal Law (President 1989-2004), and non-resident Professor of Criminal Law at the University of Cairo. He was a Guest Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. (1972), Visiting Professor of Law, New York University Law School (1971), and Fulbright-Hays Professor of International Criminal Law, the University of Freiburg, Germany (1970). He wa a frequent lecturer at universities in the U.S. and abroad until he passed away in 2017. 

Bassiouni's legal education was in Egypt, France, Switzerland and the United States where he received the following degrees: LL.B. University of Cairo; J.D. Indiana University; LL.M. John Marshall Law School; and S.J.D. George Washington University. He has received several honorary degrees from the Catholic Theological Union, USA (Doctor of Humane Letters) (2009); National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland (LL.D.) (2001); Niagara University, USA (LL.D.) (1997); Docteur d'Etat en Droit honoris causa, University of Pau, France (1986); and Dottore in Giurisprudenza honoris causa, University of Torino, Italy (1981).

He was the author or editor of numerous books on international criminal law, comparative criminal law, human rights, and U.S. criminal law; and the author of 240 articles published in law journals and books in the U.S. and other countries. These publications have been written in Arabic, English, French, Italian and Spanish. Some of them have been cited by the International Court of Justice; the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY); the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR); the United States Supreme Court; the United States Circuit and Federal District Courts and various State Supreme Courts. Several of his works have been translated into Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.

Between 1975 and 2005, Bassiouni served in the following United Nations positions: Independent Expert on Human Rights in Afghanistan, Commission (2004-05); Independent Expert on the Rights to Restitution, Compensation and Rehabilitation for Victims of Grave Violations of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1998-2000); Chairman, Drafting Committee, United Nations Diplomatic Conference on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court (1998); Vice-Chairman, General Assembly's Preparatory Committee on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court (1996-98); Vice-Chairman, General Assembly's Ad Hoc Committee on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court (1995); Chairman of the United Nations Commission of Experts Established Pursuant to Security Council 780 (1992) to Investigate Violations of International Humanitarian Law in the Former Yugoslavia (1993-94), and the Commission's Special Rapporteur on Gathering and Analysis of the Facts (1992-1993); Consultant to the Sixth and Seventh United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention (1980 and 1985); Consultant to the Committee on Southern African, Commission on Human Rights (1980-81); Co-chairman of the Independent Committee of Experts on drafting the Convention on the Prevention and Suppression of Torture (1978); Honorary Vice-President, Fifth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention (1975). He also served, between 1973-1980, as a consultant to the U.S. Departments of State and Justice on projects relating to international traffic in drugs (1973) and international control of terrorism (1975 and 1978-79), and as a consultant to the Department of State on the defence of the U.S. hostages in Iran (1979-80).

Among the distinctions and awards Bassiouni has received are: Special Award of the Council of Europe (1990); Defender of Democracy Award, Parliamentarians for Global Action (1998); the Adlai Stevenson Award of the United Nations Association (1993); the Saint Vincent DePaul Humanitarian Award (DePaul University 2000); the Hague Prize for International Law (2007). He has received the Order of Merit of the Republic, Italy (Cavaliere di Gran Croce) (2006); Ordre des Palmes Académiques, Republic of France (Commander) (2006); Grand Cross of the Order of Merit, Federal Republic of Germany (2003); Legion d'Honneur (Officier), France (2003); Order of Lincoln, Illinois, USA (2001); Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Austrian Republic (1990); Order of Scientific Merit (First Class), Egypt (1984); Order of Merit of the Republic, Italy (Grand'Ufficiale) (1977); Order of Merit of the Republic, Italy (Commendatore) (1976); and the Order of Military Valor, Egypt (1956).

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