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2015 M.C. Bassiouni Justice Award winner

Rolf Einar Fife painted by Roberto Caruso.


Rolf Einar Fife 

Ambassador Rolf Einar Fife (Norwegian Ambassador to France) has been granted the 2015 M.C. Bassiouni Justice Award in recognition of (a) his unique contributions to the negotiation and adoption of the Statute of the International Criminal Court (‘ICC’), in particular at critical stages of the United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court, Rome, 15 June - 17 July 1998; (b) his outstanding diplomatic efforts to support and protect the nascent ICC in the early years of its existence, especially through his role in the Bureau of the ICC Assembly of States Parties; (c) his consistent but unassuming contributions to the legitimization of the ICC in the wider international law and diplomatic communities; (d) his ingenious command of the art of what is possible in the development and strengthening of international law, combined with his integrity, courage and strategic capacity when leadership is required to seize favourable multilateral circumstances; and (e) his subtlety and sophistication in multilateral communication, including the fluent use of several languages, reaching a variety of audiences in a trustworthy and persuasive manner that unites actors. The 2015 Award was dedicated to “outstanding diplomatic service to international criminal law”.

Prior to becoming Norway’s Ambassador to France, Ambassador Fife served as Director General of Legal Affairs in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs since January 2002. He joined the Ministry in 1985 and has served in various capacities, including at the Norwegian Embassy in Riyadh, the Permanent Mission of Norway to the United Nations in New York, and in various positions in the legal department. He has played key roles in negotiations concerning, inter alia, the law of the sea and of the Arctic, the European Economic Area, and maritime boundary treaty negotiations. Ambassador Fife was President for the years 2009 and 2010 of the Council of Europe Committee of Public International Law (CAHDI), and is a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. He was head of the Norwegian Delegation to the Rome Diplomatic Conference, and has served as co-ordinator and chair of working groups on penalties and the first ICC Review Conference. After going to school in Italy and France, Ambassador Fife studied law and Arabic language at the University of Oslo, and was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge. He has published extensively in international law.

The 2015 Award Committee consisted of Professor Emeritus M.C. Bassiouni, Professor Claus Kreß (Cologne University), Assistant Professor CHEAH Wui Ling (National University of Singapore), Mr. Arne Willy Dahl (former Judge Advocate General, Norway), Mr. Alf Butenschøn Skre (Secretary), and Professor Morten Bergsmo (Chair). Its decision was made by consensus.

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