Born in Cairo, Egypt in 1937, M. Cherif Bassiouni immigrated to the United States in 1962. He is EmeritusProfessor of Law at DePaul University where he taught from 1964-2009. He was a founding member of the International Human Rights Law Institute at DePaul University, which was established in 1990. He served as President from 1990-2008 and then President Emeritus. In 1972, he was one of the founders of the International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Sciences (ISISC) located in Siracusa, Italy, where he served as General-Secretary from 1972-74, Dean from 1974-88 and then as President to date. He also served as the Secretary General of the International Association of Penal Law from 1974-89 and as President for three five-year terms from 1989-2004 when he was elected Honorary President. Professor Bassiouni is often referred to by the media as “the Godfather of International Criminal Law” and a “war crimes expert.”
Professor Bassiouni was a Guest Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. in 1972; Visiting Professor of Law, New York University Law School in 1971; Fulbright-Hays Professor of International Criminal Law, University of Freiburg, Germany in 1970; non-resident Professor of Criminal Law at University of Cairo from 1997-2007. He also lectured at various universities in the United States and abroad.
Since 1975, Professor Bassiouni has been appointed to 22 United Nations positions, including the following: Chair and then member of the Commission of Inquiry for Libya (2011-12); Independent Expert on Human Rights for Afghanistan (2004-06); Independent Expert on the Rights to Restitution, Compensation, and Rehabilitation for Victims of Grave Violations of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1998-2000); Chair, Drafting Committee of the Diplomatic Conference on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court (1998); Vice-Chair of the General Assembly’s Preparatory Committee on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court (1996-98); Vice-Chair of the General Assembly’s Ad Hoc Committee on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court (1995);
He also served as Chair of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, which was established in 2011.
Between 1973-2003, Professor Bassiouni served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of State and Department of Justice on projects relating to international traffic of drugs (1973), international control of terrorism (1975 and 1978-79), the defense of the U.S. hostages in Iran (1979-1980), governance and democracy projects in the Middle East and North Africa (1991-92), and the future of the Iraqi justice system (2002-03).
He was awarded the following medals: Order of Merit of the Republic (Cavaliere di Gran Croce), Italy (2006); Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Commander), France (2006); Grand Cross of the Order of Merit, Germany (2003); Legion d’Honneur (Officier), France (2003); Order of Lincoln, Illinois, United States (2001); Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Austrian Republic (1990); Order of Scientific Merit (First Class), Egypt (1984); Order of Merit of the Republic (Grand’Ufficiale), Italy (1977); Order of Merit of the Republic (Commendatore), Italy (1976); and Order of Military Valor, Egypt (1956).
In addition, he has received several honorary degrees. They are: Doctor of Law Honoris Causa, University of Salzburg (2013); Doctor of Law Honoris Causa, University of Tirana, Albania (2013); Doctor of Law Honoris Causa, University of Ghent, Belgium (2011); Doctor of Law Honoris Causa, Case Western Reserve University, United States (2010); Doctor of Humane Letters Honoris Causa, Catholic Theological Union, United States (2009); Doctor of Law Honoris Causa, National University of Ireland, Galway (2001); Doctor of Law Honoris Causa, Niagara University, United States (1997); Docteur d’Etat en Droit Honoris Causa, University de Pau, France (1986); and Dottore in Giurisprudenza Honoris Causa, Università di Torino, Italy (1981).
To date, Professor Bassiouni has authored 24 books and co-authored 4 more, edited 46 books, testified before the U.S. Congress 18 times, and authored 256 articles on International Criminal Law, Comparative Criminal Law, Human Rights, and U.S. Criminal Law that have been published in various law journals and books. Additionally, he has written 14 Monographs on such subjects as history, politics, and religion. Some of these publications have been cited by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the European Court of Human Rights, and the highest courts of: Australia, Canada, India, Israel, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa (Supreme Court and Constitutional Court) and United Kingdom (House of Lords, Court of Appeals, High Court and Divisional Court of England & Wales, and Scottish High Court of the Judiciary), and New Zealand. In the United States, the United States Supreme Court, U.S. Circuit and District courts, as well as various State Supreme Courts have repeatedly cited his works.
Several of his books and articles have been written in and translated into: Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
Professor Bassiouni began his education in Egypt where he obtained an LLB from the University of Cairo. He also pursued his legal education in France, Switzerland, and the United States where he earned the following degrees: J.D. Indiana University; LL.M. John Marshall Law School; and S.J.D. George Washington University.