Sunday 2 December 2012

Important Anniversaries in Siracusa

Cutting the cake.

The International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Sciences celebrated its 40th anniversary on 1 December. Based in Siracusa, in Sicily, it has played a seminal role in the progressive development of criminal justice generally, but especially in the areas of human rights and international criminal law.
With respect to the International Criminal Court alone, the Institute held 19 international conferences, seminars and government expert meetings as the Rome Statute was being developed. At an early stage, delegates to the Preparatory Committee sessions held by the United Nations discussed what was known as the ‘Siracusa Draft’. During the Rome Conference itself, two of the three chairmen of the Diplomatic Conference were members of the Institute’s Board: Giovanni Conso, president of the Conference, and Cherif Bassiouni, president of the drafting Committee.
Sofia, Antonio and their proud grandfather.
The International Criminal Court is only one of the areas in which the ISISC has made enormous contributions. Since its foundation, the Institute has hosted 513 activities on a huge range of criminal law issues. Every year, it holds an intensive course for Young Penalists. Many who are now judges of international and national tribunals, senior officials, and other distinguished professionals are the graduates of the course for Young Penalists.
One cannot speak of the ISISC without also speaking about the individual who has led the Institute since its beginnings, in 1972: Professor M. Cherif Bassiouni. At yesterday’s ceremony, held in the Institute’s glorious new premises in the old Jewish quarter of ancient Siracusa, prominent Italian jurists and international personalities paid homage to Prof. Bassiouni’s immense contribution to international law and justice.
Receiving an original edition of L'Esprit des Lois .
Later in the evening, friends and family gathered at the Villa Politi for a celebration, both of the Institute’s anniversary but also of another important date, Cherif’s 75th birthday. Accompanied on the piano by his six-yearold granddaughter Sofia, we all sang ‘Happy birthday’.
Stephen Rapp, Eduardo Vetere and Giovanni Pasqua, with musicians.
Cherif's colleagues in the Association internationale de droit pénal presented him with a portrait and an original edition of Montesquieu's L'Esprit des lois.
Cherif being serenaded, accompanied by family and friends.

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