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Honorary Membership Bestowed upon Judge Thomas Buergenthal of the International Court of Justice

Media Advisory
May 16, 2008



Oroma Mpi, 212-382-6713


Honorary Membership Bestowed upon
Judge Thomas Buergenthal of the International Court of Justice

NEWYORK— Today the New York City Bar Association bestowed honorary membership upon Judge Thomas Buergenthal of the International Court of Justice. Judge Buergenthal has served on the International Court in The Hague since 2000. The award was presented at a luncheon at the Association.  

Born in 1934, he grew up in the Jewish ghetto of Kielce, Poland, and was then imprisoned by the Nazis in the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Sachsenhausen, from which he was rescued in 1945.  After coming to the United States in 1951, he received his J.D. from NYU Law School and both his LL.M. and S.J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he specialized in international law and human rights. In addition to holding distinguished academic posts in several U.S. law schools, Judge Buergenthal served from 1979 to 1991 as a judge of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and from 1995 to 1999 as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

In his eight years on the International Court, Judge Buergenthal has become well known for the forcefulness of his opinions, including several notable dissents in which he challenged the Court not to apply a double standard or allow itself to become politicized. He is also the author of more than a dozen books and a large number of articles on international law, human rights, and comparative law.  The depth of his commitment to the rule of law and the advancement of human rights is evidenced by the courage he has demonstrated throughout his life.  

Over the past 10 years, the New York City Bar Association has given honorary membership only eight times, most recently to Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry of the Pakistan Supreme Court.

About the Association
The New York City Bar Association ( was founded in 1870, and since then has been dedicated to maintaining the high ethical standards of the profession, promoting reform of the law, and providing service to the profession and the public. The Association continues to work for political, legal and social reform, while implementing innovative means to help the disadvantaged. Protecting the public’s welfare remains one of the Association’s highest priorities.


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