International Judicial Monitor
Published by the American Society of International Law and the International Judicial Academy
Jan/Feb 2007, Volume 2, Issue 1

Leading Figures in International Law

Richard GoldstoneJustice Richard Goldstone

If there is one person, aside from Nelson Mandela, who embodies both the struggle in South Africa for an end to apartheid and the peaceful transition of that country to a multi-racial society, it is Justice Richard Goldstone. Two of his most enduring legacies are his service as Chairperson of the Standing Commission of Inquiry Regarding Public Violence and Intimidation (the Goldstone Commission), and his service as a judge on the Constitutional Court of South Africa, both of which resulted in major contributions to South Africa’s transition to a true democracy embracing equality of citizenship for persons of different ethnic backgrounds.

From these monumental contributions to his own country’s destiny, he has risen to become one of the most notable international jurists in the world.

Richard Goldstone was born in Boksburg, NE South Africa in 1938. He received his B.A. and LL.B degrees from the University of Witwatersrand and in 1962, after which he practiced as an advocate in Johannesburg, achieving the position of Senior Counsel in 1976.

His first judicial appointment was to the Supreme Court of Transvaal in 1980. He advanced to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of South Africa in 1989. Five years later he was appointed to the Constitutional Court, where he served until 2003.

Justice Goldstone began his international legal career in 1994, when he was appointed chief prosecutor for both the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the Netherlands, and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Tanzania.

Subsequent positions of international legal significance held by Justice Goldstone include:

  • Member of international panel established by the government of Argentina to monitor investigation of Nazi activities in that country (1997)
  • Chair of commission for drafting a Declaration of Human Duties and Responsibilities for Director-General of UNESCO (Valencia Declaration 1998)
  • Co-chair of the International Task Force on Terrorism established by the International Bar Association (2001)
  • Co-chair of the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association (2006)

Justice Goldstone has been a visiting professor at the New York University School of Law, Beloit College, Fordham Law School, University of San Diego, and the Harvard Law School. He has received honorary degrees from 14 colleges and universities in South Africa, the United States, and Israel. In 1994 he received the International Human Rights Award of the American Bar Association. In 2005 he was awarded the Thomas Dodd Prize in International Human Rights.

James G. Apple, Co-Editor, International Judicial Monitor and President, International Judicial Academy

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© 2007 – The American Society of International Law and International Judicial Academy.

Editors: James G. Apple, Andrew Solomon and Maria Staunton.
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