Laureate Erasmus Prize 2009
The theme of the Erasmus Prize 2009 was ‘International prosecution and trial of war crimes and crimes against humanity’. The prize was shared by two eminent jurists: Antonio Cassese and Benjamin Ferencz. Together these men – the prosecutor and the judge – personify the efforts to punish, prevent and eliminate international war crimes.
Antonio Cassese (1937-2011) was professor of international law at the University of Florence. He has made both scholarly and practical contributions to this field of study. As first president (1993) of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, he has been of great significance for the functioning of this tribunal and for the establishment of the authority of other tribunals. Cassese headed the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the Commission of Inquiry on Darfur, and he was President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. In his role as a judge, teacher, scholar and critic, Antonio Cassese has motivated a large number of students and colleagues, and has played a crucial role in the recognition of international tribunals.