By Ms. JD Summer Book Series • June 02, 2008•Ms. JD, Ms. JD Book Reviews
The Lion, the Fox & the Eagle, By: Carol Off
After the failure of peacekeeping missions in both Sarajevo and Rwanda in the 1990s, Louise Arbour, a Canadian judge, was tasked with the mission of bringing the perpetrators of these international crimes to justice. She was appointed to the position of Chief Prosecutor for War Crimes in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia and undertook the tremendous task of prosecuting international criminals in the United Nations Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.
Carol Off's book consists of three parts. The first two parts deal with two Canadian generals: Lewis MacKenzie, who served in the former Yugoslavia, and Romeo Dallaire, who served in Rwanda, respectively. Ms. JD readership, however, will probably be most interested in the work of Louise Arbour, chronicled in part III.
Arbour was tasked with the project of building the legitimacy of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Through her efforts, along with a talented team of people, these two tribunals succeeded in bringing to trial many of the leaders of atrocities from both conflicts.
Louise Arbour stated that she believed in the importance of the law, and the legal process, which allows us to "collectively demonstrate our commitment to the impartial exposure of the truth, and in which we restate, time and again, the values upon which we have constructed our will to live together as a civil society."Off's account of Arbour's perseverance, vision, and intelligence, reveals the life of a female lawyer, perhaps little-known in some circles, but infinitely influential in the international legal community. The lessons we learn from Arbour's life and work with the ICTY and ICTR are significant for all women lawyers and law students. As Arbour stated in her 2000 speech at the University of Alberta, in regards to the role of the law today:"...we are collectively becoming more conscious of the need to develop a framework within which the most basic human needs and values will be protected and nourished, not only in our communities, but everywhere." That framework is the law, both national and international, which all lawyers seek to interpret and, ultimately, uphold.