Thursday 15 April 2010

Vince Del Buono

My friend Vince Del Buono died a couple of days ago. I first got to know Vince in 1968, more than forty years ago, when we were university students. I was looking forward to seeing him at the UN Criminal Justice Congress in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil this week. Alas, he didn’t make it. He will be greatly missed by its many friends and admirers in Canada and around the world. Our sympathies go out to Jennifer and his family.
This is the obituary in the Toronto Star.

VINCENT DEL BUONO Passed away peacefully with his family by his side at the Greater Niagara General Hospital on April 13, 2010 at the age of 60. Loving husband of Jennifer Pothier. Beloved son of Anna Del Buono and brother of Robert Del Buono. Cherished son-in-law of Theresa Pothier. Vincent was born May 16, 1949 in Casacalenda, Italy and immigrated to Canada at the age of four (though he retained close ties to his ancestral home and remained fiercely proud of his Italian heritage). Brought up in the Toronto neighbourhood of St. Clair and the Junction and educated at York University's Glendon College (BA, 1972) and the University of Toronto (MA, 1975, LLM, 1976), Vince was called to the bar in Alberta and went on to a distinguished international career in the fields of criminal law reform, justice, security and human rights. He spent a decade as Senior Counsel with the Law Reform Commission of Canada and the Department of Justice and was founding President of both the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law and the International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy in Vancouver. During the 1990s, he played senior roles at the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime in Vienna and with the UN's peacekeeping mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He also served as Deputy Secretary-General of Amnesty International in London. From 2002 to 2007, he led the British Council's Access to Justice program in Nigeria, for which work he was honoured by investiture into the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. (He was equally proud of his traditional Nigerian titles: The King's Law Maker and The Emir's Chief Mediator.) Most recently, he had returned to Canada after many years abroad and having settled into an idyllic lakeside home at Niagara-on-the-Lake, was active as CEO of the Niagara 1812 Bicentennial Legacy Council. Over the years, Vince held academic appointments at McGill University, the Universities of Ottawa and British Columbia, Southwestern School of Law in Los Angeles and the State University of New York at Buffalo. He retained particularly close ties with York University (where he was a visiting Scholar and an ongoing Senior Fellow of Glendon School of Public and International Affairs) and with Massey College at the University of Toronto (where he had been Don of Hall as a graduate student and more recently was an inaugural recipient of the Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson Laureateship in Public Service). Vincent had a profound positive impact on numerous institutions and individuals. He was passionately committed to the cause of human rights, which for him was not just a theoretical concept, but a living reality. He maintained a wide network of close contacts around the world, whom he touched for good in countless ways - both public and private - and who continue to cherish his wisdom, insight, compassion and humour. Vincent's family will receive friends at the MORLEY BEDFORD FUNERAL SERVICES, 159 Eglinton Avenue West, Toronto on Friday, April 16th from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. A Funeral Liturgy will be held at the Newman Centre, St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church, 50 Hoskin Avenue, Toronto on Saturday, April 17th at 10:30 a.m. A Memorial Service will be held in St. Catharines at the Unitarian Congregation of Niagara, 223 Church Street, on May 2, 2010 at 2 p.m. If desired, memorial donations can be made to Amnesty International or the Terry Fox Foundation would be appreciated by the family.

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