Rosalyn Higgins

2007 Balzan Prize for International Law since 1945

For her outstanding contributions to the development of international law since the Second World War and her role as an academic, judge and Court President; for her clear, constructive as well as innovative and groundbreaking books, writings, articles, and court decisions in defence of the rule of law and human rights; for her leading role in strengthening and enlarging modern international law.

Rosalyn Higgins is President of the International Court of Justice at The Hague. She has studied at the universities of Cambridge and Yale, and has taught at the universities of Kent at Canterbury, London, Yale and Stanford. She was a member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee and in 1995 was the first woman to be elected to the International Court of Justice.

She is highly esteemed as a scholar, as well as a practitioner and arbitrator. Her books and articles reveal a versatile spirit that is always versatile, yet at the same time prudent and creative, with a judicious outlook and a willingness to confront new issues even if they are thorny, and analyse them clearly and intelligibly. Several of her publications have been awarded prizes for these qualities.

As professor and judge, she is a role model and has helped to strengthen international law in today’s world of rapid change and questioning of conventional ideas. She has succeeded in newly embracing international law in an innovative way, in promoting a system that can foster peace and sustain the rule of law and human rights. In a realistic, constructive way, she has been able to reconcile the conflicting positions that arise in international law. The Balzan Prize honours her multi-faceted contributions to a modern international community that is oriented towards law and values.

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Fondazione Internazionale Premio Balzan