On 21 October 2021, the Academy of European Law (AEL) hosted the Public Lecture to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the passing of Antonio Cassese at the EUI's Villa Salviati. The event, jointly organised with the Office of the President, honoured the life and achievements of Antonio Cassese, who was a Professor of International Law at the EUI as well as at the Universities of Pisa and Florence.
In his introductory remarks, EUI President, Professor Renaud Dehousse praised Cassese’s legal and institutional contributions to International Human Rights Law, that are preserved at the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU), through which scholars can have access to the work of the Professor and can continue building on his legacy.
The keynote lecture was given by Hina Jilani, a pioneering lawyer and international champion of human rights, who worked together with Cassese at the time when he was Chair of the UN International Commission of Inquiry into Violations of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in Darfur. Hina Jilani shared her memories of Cassese, highlighting his scholarly competence, expertise in international law, and integrity. She recalled that during his mandate as Chair, Cassese knew exactly what the Law was and was also aware of the human dimension of the conflict situation in Darfur. Jilani emphasised the utmost importance of values such as fairness, good judgment, and a non-partisan observation of facts in Darfur.
Pierre d’Argent, President of the European Society of International Law (ESIL), which supported the public lecture, recalled Cassese’s belief that Law is made for social change.
In her closing remarks, Micaela Frulli, Professor of International Law at the University of Florence, shared her personal memories of Professor Cassese and underlined the contributions he left in the many fields of activity that were influenced by his work. She depicted Cassese as a lively individual, full of energy, interests, and ideas and curious not only about Law but also about art, literature, and all forms of culture.
Cassese’s merits of being a truthful and curious individual were recognised by all of the speakers present at the event. Salvatore Zappalà, Professor of International Law at the University of Catania School of Law, concluded the lecture by expressing his pleasure to be able to commemorate Cassese together with his family and friends.
Watch a full recording of the public lecture.