Sir Nigel Rodley – a giant human rights scholar – passed away

January 26, 2017

It is with great sadness that I learnt of the death of my old friend Nigel Rodley at the age of 75. From 1973 to 1990, he was the first Legal Adviser of Amnesty International (I was Executive Secretary of the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva at the time) and in that capacity we met often and worked together on many projects, in particular the coming about of the International Convention Against Torture. Nigel went on to become the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Torture, President of the International Commission of Jurists, Chairman of the UN Human Rights Committee and a long-time professor and Chair of the Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex. We saw each other last year at the anniversary party of our common friend Leah Levin and he was as sharp as ever. Reed Brody on his Facebook page wrote rightly: “Sir Nigel Rodley, one of the legends in the field of international human rights“. We will miss him.

If you would like to see and hear him, go to the minutes 34-48 in the video report of 2016 contained in: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/02/10/video-to-learn-more-about-the-nels…

He was a real scholar and among his writings are:

  • The Routledge Handbook of International Human Rights Law (co-ed. with Scott Sheeran, 2013).
  • The Treatment of Prisoners under International Law (3rd ed 2009, Oxford) (with Matt Pollard)
  • Report of the Conference on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in Acute Crisis (co-ed.) (Department for International Development/ Human Rights Centre, University of Essex, 1998);
  • International Responses to Traumatic Stress (co-ed.) (Baywood/UN, 1995);
  • To Loose the Bands of Wickedness – International Intervention in Defence of Human Rights (ed.) (Brassey’s, 1992);
  • The Treatment of Prisoners under International Law (Clarendon Press/UNESCO, 1987; 2nd ed. 1999; 3rd ed 2009 with Matt Pollard)
  • Enhancing Global Human Rights 1979 (co-author) (McGraw-Hill, 1979);
  • International Law in the Western Hemisphere (Co-ed.) (Nijhoff, 1974).

In 2005 he received the Goler T. Butcher Medal.

The University of Essex has created a news page and you can leave your own tribute to Sir Nigel on its Essex Daily blog. A full tribute to Sir Nigel will be published in due course. For further information, contact the Communications Office via email comms@essex.ac.uk, or phone 01206 872400.

Source: University of Essex :: School of Law :: Emeritus Professors :: Professor Sir Nigel Rodley LLB Leeds, LLM Col, LLM NY, PhD Essex (part-time)

One Response to “Sir Nigel Rodley – a giant human rights scholar – passed away”


  1. Indeed a wonderful human rights expert especially on torture. I am so glad I got to work a bit with him when I was at FIDH. Great man. Thanks for your tribute.


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