Distinguished expert on International Criminal Law and Human Rights
Judge Navi Pillay is a distinguished expert on international criminal law and human rights. She served as the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations from 2008 to 2014. Prior to this Dr Pillay was a judge at the International Criminal Court in The Hague from 2003 to 2008. From 1995 to 2003, she was, as the first and then only woman, judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, whose Presidency she held for four years.
In 1995 Dr Pillay worked as a limited term judge at the High Court of South Africa, an appointment made by President Nelson Mandela. She was the first black woman and first attorney to serve on the bench.
Dr. Pillay has championed many human rights issues with which she herself had direct experience, having grown up under the Apartheid regime in South Africa.
She currently plays an active role in numerous human rights organisations including as president of the Advisory Council of the International Nuremberg Principles Academy and commissioner for the International Commission Against the Death Penalty.
Dr. Pillay received a BA and a LLB from Natal University South Africa and holds a Master of Law and a Doctorate of Juridical Science from Harvard University. She is the recipient of the Commandeur de l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur (award of Commander in the French Legion of Honour, 2016) and numerous honorary doctorates, including from Durham University, City University of New York School of Law, London School of Economics and Tufts University.