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Defenders for Human Rights
Louise Arbour

Louise Arbour Crimes Against Humanity

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GRADE LEVELS = 9 to 12  /  SUGGESTED TIME = Six 60 minute class periods

Louise Arbour is an international lawyer, under whose leadership the Rwandan genocide was recognized internationally, a sitting Serbian president was indicted for war crimes, and rape was recognized as a war crime.

Louise, born in francophone Quebec, was called to the Quebec Bar in 1971 and the Ontario Bar in 1977. During her time as a professor at York University in Toronto, she published prolifically, focusing on criminal procedure, human rights and civil rights. In 1987 she was appointed to the Ontario Supreme Court, before becoming the first francophone appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal in 1990.

Appointed by the Security Council of the United Nations, Louise acted as Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda from 1996 to 1999. She secured the first conviction for genocide since the 1948 Genocide Convention (Rwanda) and the first-ever indictment for war crimes by a sitting European head of state (Serbian President Slobodan Milošević). She was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada in 1999, and appointed High Commissioner for Human Rights by the Secretary-General and approved by the General Assembly in 2004.

Louise is a Companion of the Order of Canada (2007) and a Grande Officière de l’Ordre national du Quebec (2009). She has received numerous medals and awards, including the Franklin D. Roosevelt Freedom from Fear Award (2000) and the French Legion of Honour (2010). Alongside former Brazilian President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, Ms. Arbour received the North-South Prize of the Council of Europe in 2011.