Many years ago when I was co-writing a book on Women and War, I decided that having a female judge write the foreward was a great start to this important topic. As I reflected and reviewed the landscape, I realized there were a number of amazing women making huge contributions as judges, sitting on the benches in places such as the International Court of Justice – how can you not admire the works of Justice Rosalyn Higgins? – or the ad hoc tribunals, such as the impressive Judge Florence Mumba.
In the end, I was honored to have the former president of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and former judge at the International Criminal Court, Justice Navanethem Pillay, as the author of the foreward. She wrote, with elegance and passion, a short piece about the importance of recognizing and embracing the “multi-facets of womanhood in the advancement of international humanitarian law”. With a career that spanned from a judge to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, from a young, female and non-white lawyer struggling to open her own law practice to the first non-white woman on the High Court of South Africa – I am inspired by her work and her words. Thank you, Justice Pillay.
To extend yesterday’s celebration of International Women’s Day, I thought it was an appropriate time for ICRC’s Humanitarian Law & Policy blog to celebrate and appreciate our favorite female judges.
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