The Hague: Renowned
international law expert Antonio Cassese, who served as first
president of the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal and later as
president of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, has died after
a long battle with cancer, the Lebanon tribunal announced
The court set up to prosecute the assassins of former
Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri said in a statement that
Cassese died peacefully at his home in Florence, Italy,
"For members of the tribunal he was the Maestro, whose
towering ability as a jurist and a statesman was equaled by
the immense personal warmth and humanity which made him our
dear friend," said David Baragwanath, who succeeded Cassese
less than two weeks ago as president of the Special Tribunal
for Lebanon after the Italian stepped down on health grounds.
Cassese was still working as an appeals judge at the
tribunal at the time of his death.
Cassese was one of the world`s most respected experts in
international law. He guided the International Criminal
Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia during its first years of
operation, from 1993-97, and led the United Nations`
International Commission of Inquiry into Genocide in Darfur in
Cassese was born in 1937 in Italy. The Lebanon tribunal
did not release his exact age.
"He created and was the pre-eminent figure in modern
international criminal law," Baragwanath said. "His family
extended across the globe to wherever there was injustice. His
vision, intellect, dynamism and courage changed attitudes,
institutions and lives."
Cassese was professor of international law at the
University of Florence from 1975 until 2008 and was a visiting
fellow at Oxford University`s All Souls College from 1979-80.
He published extensively on international law,
particularly international criminal law, and received several
awards for his work.
Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced.