This year marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute, which established the International Criminal Court (ICC). Located in The Hague, The Netherlands, it is an independent judicial body with jurisdiction over persons charged with genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.
On this anniversary that created an independent judicial body for prosecuting persons charged with genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, it is fitting that the Law School’s Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute will bestow its World Peace Through Law Award to a distinguished veteran judge of the Court.
Christine Van den Wyngaert, the international and comparative criminal law expert who has recently completed service as a judge in the Trial Division Chamber of the ICC, is this year’s recipient. The award ceremony will include her Assembly Series lecture on the critical role the international courts and tribunals play in seeking justice for victims of human rights violations.
Since 2006, the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute in the School of Law has bestowed its World Peace Through Law Award to distinguished legal experts who, through their academic scholarship and judicial practice have advanced the rule of law, thereby contributing to world peace.
In conferring this honor, Leila Sadat, professor of law and director of the Harris Institute, noted Van den Wyngaert’s exceptional service at the International Criminal Court since 2009, as well as her work for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Court of Justice. Sadat praised Van den Wyngaert for “tirelessly advocating for international law and promotion of the rule of law through many activities outside your work on the Court,” and to her “ongoing commitment to peace as both a goal and a guide, educating future generations and advancing trust in global institutions dedicated to justice.”
“It was clear to the selection committee that throughout your career, your work has been guided by principles of accountability and human dignity,” Sadat said.
Van den Wyngaert’s long-time commitment to prosecuting international crimes include the recently completed judgeship on the International Criminal Court, where she served from 2009 to 2017. Previous experience as a judge for the international courts include serving on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and on the International Court of Justice.
Furthermore, Van den Wyngaert is a charter member of the Steering Committee for the Crimes Against Humanity Initiative, launched in 2008 to study the need for a new comprehensive global convention on the prevention and punishment of crimes against humanity.
Since 1985 she has taught criminal law at the University of Antwerp.
For her dedication as a judge, Van den Wyngaert, a native of Antwerp, Belgium, was ennobled in 2013 as a baroness by King Albert II of Belgium.