Notre Dame Law School and Dean G. Marcus Cole hosted a panel discussion and reception on Monday, November 13 to honor Justice Richard Goldstone at the Constitutional Court of South Africa. The event marked the culmination of the ND Law School’s delegation trip to South Africa and recognized Justice Goldstone’s human rights advocacy throughout the years and his role in creating the Notre Dame LL.M. Human Rights Program 50 years ago.
Justice Goldstone used his position to fight apartheid in South Africa and served as a judge of the Transvaal Supreme Court and then as a justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. During the event he reflected on his long-time friendship with University of Notre Dame President Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C. He shared how Fr. Hesburgh had inquired about ways Notre Dame could contribute to advancing justice in South Africa. In response, Goldstone suggested, “Educate our lawyers.”
That led to the establishment of the master of laws degree in international human rights law at Notre Dame. Initially aimed at educating South African attorneys in civil and human rights law during the fight against apartheid, the program has evolved over the years to enhance global civil and human rights. More than 500 lawyers from over 100 countries have been educated through the LL.M. Program in International Human Rights Law.
The panel included Dean Cole, Justice Goldstone, along with Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga '90 LL.M. of the Constitutional Court of South Africa and Hon. Reuben E. Brigety, the U.S. Ambassador to South Africa. Justice Madlanga was one of the first graduates of the Notre Dame LL.M. Program in International Human Rights Law.
Albie Sachs, South African lawyer and anti-apartheid activist appointed by President Nelson Mandela to the Constitutional Court after the 1994 democratic election, also delivered video remarks during the event.
Their discussion reflected upon U.S. and South African educational exchanges, specifically the role American institutions have played in aiding in the fight against apartheid, and in the promotion of civil and human rights in South Africa.
Attendees included alumni from the Law School’s LL.M. program, local Johannesburg faculty, human rights advocates, and members of the Court.
A video of the panel discussion is below: