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Academy of European Law

The Human Rights Challenge in Europe: Antonio Cassese

This episode of the podcast "Antonio Cassese: The Stubborn Sparrow" discusses the work and legacy of the late Antonio Cassese, international lawyer and former EUI Professor, highlighting the role of the EUI in promoting the protection of human rights in the European legal space.

18 March 2022 | Podcast

In the podcast episode ‘The Human Rights Challenge in Europe: Nino’s work at the European University Institute’, Professor Paola Gaeta (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva), Dr Antonio Coco (University of Essex) and Professor Andrew Clapham (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva) discuss the participation of Professor Antonio Cassese in two pioneering projects on the theme of human rights in the European Union.

In the late 1980s, Antonio Cassese, at the time Professor of International Law and Co-Director of the Academy of European Law, was asked to lead a research group on the state of the protection of human rights in the European Community. The group produced a three-volume study, edited by Cassese himself, Joseph Weiler and Andrew Clapham, which was published in 1992 under the title ‘European Union: the Human Rights Challenge’. The final project report (1992: What Are Our Rights?) was ground-breaking in recommending the European Community’s accession to the European Convention of Human Rights.

A few years later, Professor Cassese was nominated member of the ‘Comité des Sages’ (namely, Committee of the Wise People), who were tasked by the European Union to propose a Human Rights Agenda for the European Union for the Year 2000. The podcast hosts a recollection about the research carried out by Philip Alston, who led that study at the EUI. The study eventually paved the way to the adoption of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union in 2000, showcasing the EUI as a ‘vibrant intellectual and political hub that ultimately facilitated the adoption of the Charter’ — as recently acknowledged by EUI President, Professor Renaud Dehousse.

Antonio Cassese’s archives are included among the collections of the Historical Archives of the European Union, at the EUI. The archives reflect his professional career as researcher, professor of international law, legal expert on human rights and judge in important international courts of law. They are open for consultation.

Last update: 18 March 2022

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