Today, in the last of four prize announcement conferences, the 2016 Tang Prize in Rule of Law was announced in Taipei. Louise Arbour was named at the recipient of the international prize “for her enduring contributions to international criminal justice and the protection of human rights, to promoting peace, justice and security at home and abroad, and to working within the law to expand the frontiers of freedom for all.” The award includes a cash prize of US$1.24 million. In addition to the cash prize, a grant of approx. US$311,000 is awarded per category.
The Honourable Louise Arbour is currently counsel and jurist in residence at the Canadian law firm, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG). Before joining BLG, she served as President and CEO of International Crisis Group (ICG), United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, Supreme Court of Ontario, and Ontario Court of Appeal. While holding these and many other important positions, Arbour has stood consistently at the forefronts of advancing protection of human rights and promotion of peace and justice, which she has realized in her authoring of numerous seminal judgments, opinions, and scholarly works. Her efforts towards these ends have expanded the frontiers of freedom for all, in both the material and conceptual senses.
Among her most notable contributions were those made during her tenure as Chief Prosecutor for both the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and for Rwanda (ICTR). In these tribunals, she led the administration of international criminal justice from the prosecution side by securing indictment and apprehension of major war criminals—including those holding paramilitary or political positions at the highest levels—through skillful maneuvering of investigation and prosecutorial policies and strategies. At each juncture, she overcome impediments raised by lack of resources and support from local and external stakeholders. The work achieved by the ICTY and ICTR, to which Arbour played a pivotal role in their respective key transformative periods, reaffirms the significance of international criminal justice for post-conflict communities in the search for peace, justice and reconciliation. Furthermore, it lays a firmer foundation for international criminal tribunals and special courts, including the International Criminal Court.
Speaking from her extensive experiences—ranging boldly across such fields as criminal procedure, civil liberties, and gender issues, Arbour has remained an untiring voice for the sufferers of war and conflict, as well as people whose rights have been neglected to the peripherals of public awareness. She has spoken or written extensively on conflict-prevention, the responsibility to protect, the parallel pursuit of peace and justice, among other topics fundamental to international peace and security.
Founded in 2012 by Samuel Yin, the Tang Prize awards achievements in four categories: Sustainable Development, Biopharmaceutical Science, Sinology, and Rule of Law. The Tang Prize in the Rule of Law recognizes individuals or institutions who have made significant contributions to the rule of law, reflected not only in the achievement of the candidate in terms of the advancement of legal theory or practice, but also in the realization of the rule of law in contemporary societies through the influences or inspiration of the work of the candidate.
This year is the second awarding of the international prize, which celebrated its inaugural year in 2014. This year’s (2016) awardees were announced June 18-21. They will receive the medal, diploma, and cash prize at the award ceremony on September 25 in Taipei.