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International Criminal Court Judge to Give Marks Lecture

Judge Navanethem Pillay, a judge on the International Criminal Court, will give the 28th Annual Marks Memorial Lecture, Wednesday, March 12, 2008, at 10:00 a.m., Holsclaw Hall, School of Music. Her talk is titled "Equal Justice for Women - A Personal Journey."

South Africa-born Navanethem Pillay became the first woman to open a law practice in Natal Province while in her 20s. Today, Pillay has come to be known as a human rights advocate in her country and around the world.
Pillay is honorary chair for Equality Now, an international human rights organizations that focuses on the rights and protection of women. She represented people who were fighting against apartheid and also handled precedent-setting cases to establish as a defense the effects of solitary confinement, the right of political prisoners to due process, and the family violence syndrome.

Pillay earned her undergraduate degrees from South Africa's Natal University before earning a master's degree in law and a doctorate in juridical science from Harvard University. In 1995, she became the first woman attorney in her country appointed acting judge of the High Court of South Africa by the Mandela Government during Nelson Mandela's presidency.

Pillay, who holds a position in the court's Appeals Division, was later elected by the United Nations General Assembly to be a judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. In 2003, she was elected by the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute to be a judge with the International Criminal Court, based in The Hague in the Netherlands. The International Criminal Court is an independent court that handles serious criminal cases. Most often, those being tried are accussed of committing crimes that concern more than one country. Among the crimes the court tries are those against humanity, such as genocide and war crimes.

Pillay has held numerous key positions for organizations, including the Women Lawyers Association, the Advice Desk for Abused Women and the Black Lawyers Association.

Updated: 03/11/2008