Fordham Law

South African Justice, Human Rights Advocate to Speak at Graduation

February 08, 2007

International human rights leader and former South African Constitutional Court Justice Richard Goldstone will be the keynote speaker at the Law School’s diploma ceremony on May 20, 2007.

Justice Goldstone also held Fordham's William Hughes Mulligan Chair in International Legal Studies in 2004, and will return to the Fordham faculty as a visitor next year.

Justice Goldstone played a central role in the end of apartheid in South Africa.  After practicing as an attorney for nearly 18 years in his native South Africa, Justice Goldstone began his judicial career as Judge of the Transvaal Supreme Court.  In 1991, Justice Goldstone assumed the position for which is he is perhaps best known-the Chairperson of South Africa's Commission of Inquiry regarding Public Violence and Intimidation, which came to be known as the Goldstone Commission. The Commission revealed the human rights abuses perpetrated by security forces and seriously undermined the system of apartheid. 

From 1994 to 2003, Justice Goldstone served as a judge of the South African Constitutional Court.  During that time, the Court played a vital role in the peaceful transition from the interim constitution and helped to establish a foundation for judicial independence in South Africa's new constitutional democracy.  
During that same period, Justice Goldstone served as the first Chief Prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, a role critical in establishing the first such international courts since the trials at Nuremburg and Tokyo.  From 1999 to 2001, he served as the chairperson of the International Independent Inquiry on Kosovo.

He has also served as a member of the committee appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to investigate allegations regarding the Iraq Oil for Food Program. 

Since his retirement from the bench, Goldstone has held visiting faculty positions at Fordham, Harvard, NYU, and the University of San Diego. 

Contact: Jennifer Spencer