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Irwin Cotler

Irwin Cotler is a Canadian international legal scholar, parliamentarian, and former attorney general and minister of justice of Canada. Cotler founded the Save Darfur Parliamentary Coalition and most recently, the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights in Canada. Born in Montreal, Colter is a longstanding member of the Canadian Parliament and one of the most vocal international proponents of the responsibility to protect doctrine for the prevention of genocide. He and also worked to bring Nazi war criminals to justice. He has taught at Harvard And Yale Law Schools and as the director of McGill University’s Human Rights Program from 1973 until 1999, when he was elected to the Canadian Parliament.During his time in government, he has served on the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and its Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Development, as well as the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. In2000, he was appointed special advisor to the minister of foreign affairs on the International Criminal Court. As an international human rights lawyer,Cotler has represented Nelson Mandela, Jacobo Timerman, Saad Eddin Ibrahim, and Natan Sharansky among many others. He currently represents Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, Venezuelan political prisoner Leopoldo López and Iranian cleric Ayatollah Boroujerdi. He co-authored the book, “The Responsibility to Protect,”(1st Ed. 2011) with fellow human rights lawyer, Jared Genser. Cotler has received numerous honorary doctorates and was awarded Canada’s highest civilian award, the Officer of the Order of Canada. He is the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Canadian Bar Association’President’s award, the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation’s Centennial Medal, the Romeo Dallaire Award for Human Rights Leadership, the Sir Zafrullah Khan Award for Distinguished Public Service, the 2015 Dalhousie University Ethical Leadership Award, the 2015 Sergei Magnitsky Human Rights award, and most recently the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Human Rights award. TodayCotler is focused on providing legal counsel for political prisoners as well as his leadership of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, which he chairs.

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