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Louise Arbour (1947- )

Louise Arbour
Louise Arbour
(Copyright Supreme Court of Canada/Larry Munn photo;
reprinted with permission)

Louise Arbour is an internationally renowned judge and lawyer who became the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2004. She previously served as a judge for the Supreme Court of Canada, and gained fame for her role as Chief Prosecutor during The International Criminal Tribunals relating to war crimes in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

Born in Montreal, Louise Arbour obtained a degree in civil law from the University of Montreal and completed post-graduate studies at the University of Ottawa. In the following years she became vice-president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and then the associate dean at Osgoode Hall Law School. In 1987 Louise Arbour was appointed to the Supreme Court of Ontario, and in 1990 she was named to the Court of Appeal for Ontario. In 1995 the highly-respected judge was responsible for an inquiry pertaining to conditions at the Prison for Women in Kingston, Ontario. It was in February 1996 that the Security Council of the United Nations selected Louise Arbour as Chief Prosecutor for The International Criminal Tribunals. Following her stellar performance, she became Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbour.

Discover more

  • Saunders, Cheryl and Katherine Le Roy, editors. The Rule of Law. The Federation Press, 2003.
    Includes an essay by Louise Arbour.


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