Meet The Lebanese Judge Presiding Over South Africa’s Genocide Case Against Israel

Blog Baladi

Dr. Nawaf Salam, a distinguished Lebanese diplomat, jurist, and academic, is currently serving as a judge in the high-profile case brought by South Africa against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), alleging genocide in Gaza.

Elected to the ICJ in 2017, Dr. Salam’s tenure reflects his commitment to international law and justice. His diplomatic career, particularly as Lebanon’s Ambassador to the United Nations, was marked by his advocacy for Palestinian rights and efforts towards stability in South Lebanon.

Throughout his time in the UN, Dr. Salam defended Palestinian rights, sought resolution to the Syrian conflict, and advocated for stability in South Lebanon, notably through the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

He was also a vocal advocate against impunity, particularly in the case of the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri.

Dr. Salam’s election to the ICJ was a momentous event for Lebanon, as he became only the second Lebanese to be elected to the court since its establishment.

His election to the ICJ, with an impressive 135 votes in the General Assembly and 12 in the Security Council, demonstrates his esteemed status in the field of international law.

Notably, Dr. Salam has authored several publications on political and constitutional reform, electoral law reform, sectarianism, corruption, accountability, and the development of international law.

His scholarly work provides valuable insights into the complexities of governance, law, and society in the Arab world.

More details about his life:

Nawaf, hailing from a prestigious Beirut family as the son of Abdallah Salaam and Rekat Beyhum, has a remarkable lineage deeply ingrained in Lebanese history and politics. His grandfather, Salim Salam, was a prominent figure in the ‘Beirut Reform Movement’ and represented Beirut in the Ottoman Parliament in 1912. His uncle, Saab Salam, served as Lebanon’s Prime Minister for a significant period from 1952 to 1973, actively contributing to the nation’s quest for independence from the French mandate.

Furthermore, Nawaf’s cousin Tammam Salam held the position of Lebanon’s Prime Minister from 2014 to 2016. As of January 2018, Nawaf is married to Sahar Baasiri, a distinguished columnist and UNESCO ambassador to Lebanon, and they have two sons, Abdalla and Marwan. Nawaf’s academic accomplishments include a Ph.D. in Political Science from Sciences Po in Paris (1992), a Master of Laws from Harvard Law School (1991), a Ph.D. in History from the Sorbonne (1979), and an education from the Ecole De Haute Etude An Science Sociérès (1974).

Related: Hochstein Is Reportedly Bringing Lebanon A “Serious Proposal” From Israel Regarding Occupied Lands

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