DePaul’s M. Cherif Bassiouni, global ‘champion of justice,’ dead at 79


M. Cherif Bassiouni, an international lawyer and investigator of human rights abuses, torture and war crimes, with then-President Barack Obama. | Provided photo

M. Cherif Bassiouni was a champion of human rights who fought torture, war crimes and genocide around the globe.

A longtime DePaul University law professor, Mr. Bassiouni died Monday at his Streeterville home. He was 79 and had multiple myeloma.

Over the years, he held 22 United Nations appointments, and he assisted on the Camp David peace accords, according to Daniel Swift, a lawyer who worked with him.

Benjamin Ferencz, who at 98 is the last surviving prosecutor from the Nuremberg war crimes trials, said Monday that Mr. Bassiouni “was a real contributor to international criminal law and the rule of law to protect human rights.”

Bianca Jagger, founder and president of the London-based Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, called Mr. Bassiouni “a champion of justice.

“Cherif Bassiouni was one of the most courageous, knowledgeable and determined people I have ever met . . . someone who went after and investigated what happened in Bosnia and Srebrenica,” Jagger said.

In Bosnia, Mr. Bassiouni worked on a “monumental effort that documented mass killings, human rights abuses. . . . and resulted in the prosecution of hundreds including” Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, said Ahmed Rehab of the Council on American Islamic Relations-Chicago.