Judge Navanethem Pillay

Nationality: South Africa (African States)

Term: 11 March 2003 - 31 August 2012

Elected from: List B on 7 February 2003


Judge Pillay was elected for a six-year term from the African Group of States (African States).

In 1967 Judge Pillay became the first woman to start a law practice in Natal Province, South Africa, and the first black woman to serve in the High Court in her country. She has presided over both criminal and civil cases. As a practitioner, Judge Pillay defended many opponents of apartheid. She was then elected by the United Nations General Assembly to be a judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, where she served for eight years, including four years as president. During her term, Judge Pillay was credited with turning the Tribunal towards a more positive course. She has written on and practised in international criminal law, international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and more particularly on crimes of sexual violence in conflicts.