Awards and Accolades: Judge Buergenthal

Professor Emeritus and International Court of Justice Judge Thomas Buergenthal Awarded Gruber Foundation International Justice Prize

June 12, 2008
-- The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation today announced that it will award its 2008 Justice Prize to two renowned advocates for human rights and justice though law:

Judge Thomas Buergenthal – a child of the Holocaust who became a world leader in the struggle for justice, he serves as the American judge on the International Court of Justice; co-authored the first international human rights law textbook in the United States; as judge and president of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, helped end the practice of disappearances in Honduras, and helped secure the government of Guatemala’s compliance with a Court order ending executions of human rights activists by special tribunals. Judge Buergenthal was nominated to the Court by the United States and elected by the U.N. General Assembly and the Security Council. Prior to his election to the Court, Judge Buergenthal was the Lobingier Professor of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence at The George Washington University Law School and currently serves as the Lobingier Professor Emeritus of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence.

Jerome J. Shestack – former president of the American Bar Association who helped end the practice of disappearances in Argentina, Chile, and Brazil; helped marshal support to eliminate race and gender discrimination in the United States; successfully defended dissidents in the former Soviet Union and South Africa; organized protection for human rights advocates; and served as a mentor to a generation of human rights lawyers.

The Justice Prize will be awarded in a ceremony this fall celebrating the achievements of the recipients, who will share the $500,000 prize.

“I applaud the selection of Thomas Buergenthal and Jerome Shestack as Justice Prize recipients,” said United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “Throughout their distinguished careers, both have devoted their bright minds and brave hearts to repairing tears in their local communities, nation, and world. Justice, equal and accessible to all, has been their constant pursuit. They have strived to install and uphold the rule of law and respect for the humanity and dignity of all the world’s people, however turbulent the times or the pressure to relent. Their courage and vigilance have inspired legions of jurists to follow in their way, to support and defend liberty and justice at home and abroad, whenever and wherever those hallmarks of civilized society are threatened.”

The Gruber Foundation Justice Prize is presented to individuals or organizations for contributions that have advanced the cause of justice as delivered through the legal system. The award is intended to acknowledge individual efforts, as well as to encourage further advancements in the field and progress toward bringing about a fundamentally just world. The Selection Advisory Boards choose individuals whose contributions in their respective fields advance our knowledge, potentially have a profound impact on our lives, and, in the case of the Justice and Women’s Rights Prizes, demonstrate courage and commitment in the face of significant obstacles.

The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation honors and encourages educational excellence, social justice and scientific achievements that better the human condition. For more information about Foundation guidelines and priorities, please go to:


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