Former Minister of Justice & Attorney General, CanadaMember of the Professional Advisory Board, International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT)
Irwin Cotler is Emeritus Professor of Law at McGill University, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, long time Member of Parliament, and recent founder and Chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights. As Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, he initiated the first-ever law on human trafficking; crafted the first ever marriage equality legislation; headed the Canadian delegation to the Stockholm Conference on the Prevention and Combating of Genocide; and made the pursuit of international justice a priority for Canada, including initiating the first ever prosecutions for incitement to genocide and the commission of mass atrocity crimes in Rwanda.
An international human rights lawyer, he has served as counsel to prisoners of conscience including Andrei Sakharov and Natan Sharansky (Soviet Union), Nelson Mandela (South Africa), Dr. Saad Eddin Ibrahim (Egypt) and, more recently, imprisoned Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi, and the imprisoned Baha'i leadership in Iran. He was also a member of the International Commission of Inquiry On the Fate and Whereabouts of Raoul Wallenberg, which was reported in June, 1990.
Among his recent honors, he was the first Canadian recipient of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation’s Centennial Medal; the first recipient of the Roméo Dallaire Award for Human Rights Leadership; was elected 2014 Canadian Parliamentarian of the Year by his colleagues; and received the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Inaugural Human Rights Award. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest civilian award.