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2004 Gruber Justice Prize Press Release

Two Eminent South African Jurists Win International Justice Prize for Advancing Equality and Human Rights

Peter Gruber Foundation Honors Arthur Chaskalson and Pius Langa

St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. December, 2004--Two renowned jurists from South Africa who have worked to redress their country's past decades of political, social and economic inequality have won the 2004 Justice Prize of the Peter Gruber Foundation. The two men have helped shape the Constitutional Court, established after South Africa's first democratic elections in 1994, into one of the world's pre-eminent courts. Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson and Deputy Chief Justice Pius Langa of the South African Constitutional Court were selected by the Foundation's Justice Advisory Board, a group of six eminent international jurists and attorneys, to receive the fourth annual award.

The $200,000 prize (which will be shared by the co-recipients) and gold medals were presented during ceremonies at the United Nations in New York City, December 6, 2004.

The official citation reads:

With different life experiences and varied professional backgrounds Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson and Deputy Chief Justice Pius Langa of the South African Constitutional Court have worked as an exemplary team at the head of an outstanding and innovative court, restraining arbitrary power and laying firm foundations for enduring justice and equality in the former citadel of racism and injustice.

Born in Johannesburg in 1931, Arthur Chaskalson received his bachelors and law degrees from the University of Witwatersrand and was admitted to the Johannesburg Bar in 1956. During his law career he appeared as counsel on behalf of members of the liberation movements in several major political trials, including the Rivonia Trial in 1963/1964 at which Nelson Mandela and other leaders of the African National Congress were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

In 1978 Chaskalson helped establish the non-profit Legal Resources Center, which sought to use the law to pursue justice and human rights in South Africa, and was its director until September 1993. He was also a consultant to the Namibian Constituent Assembly in connection with the drafting of the Constitution of Namibia (1989-1990), a Consultant to the African National Congress on constitutional issues (1990-1994), and served as a member of the Technical Committee on Constitutional Issues during negotiations for the transition to democracy in South Africa and the drafting of the transitional constitution.

In 1994 President Nelson Mandela appointed Arthur Chaskalson to be the first President of South Africa's new Constitutional Court, the country's highest court in constitutional matters, and in November 2001 he became the Chief Justice of South Africa.

He has received many awards and honorary degrees in recognition of his legal work, has been made an honorary member of the New York and Boston Bar Associations, and is a Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists.

Pius Nkonzo Langa was born in the Eastern Transvaal in 1939. He matriculated in 1960 through private study and obtained his Bachelor of Law (B Juris) in 1973 and Bachelor of Law (LLB) in 1976 at the University of South Africa. He joined South Africa's Department of Justice in 1958 as an interpreter and later served as prosecutor and magistrate. He resigned from the civil service in 1977 and was admitted as advocate later that year.

He practiced at the Natal Bar, attaining the rank of Senior Counsel in January 1994. As an advocate, Justice Langa's work involved civil and criminal matters with many trials of a political nature. He appeared in most of the significant political trials in the major centers of the country. His practice reflected the struggle against apartheid, and his clients included the underprivileged, various civic bodies and trade unions. He was a founder member of the Release Mandela Committee (Natal).

Justice Langa served on the boards and as trustee of many law-related institutions. He also was Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission for several years and participated in and organized conferences, workshops and seminars on human rights issues in South Africa and abroad. Politically he served in structures of the United Democratic Front and was involved in CODESA, the Multi-Party Negotiations Forum, and the Constitutional Committee of the African national Congress.

He was appointed a Judge of the Constitutional Court in 1994 and became Deputy President in 1997. In 1998 he was appointed as Chairman of the Langa Commission, which probed the Lesotho elections on behalf of the Southern African Development and Economic Community. Also in that year he was installed as Chancellor of the University of Natal.

"Justice is the process of unraveling arbitrary power and giving an opportunity to be heard with fairness and impartiality," said Peter Gruber, chairman of the Peter Gruber Foundation. "We are extremely pleased to honor Justice Chaskalson and Justice Langa and their work for justice, which has earned international respect and esteem."

Previous winners of the Justice Prize are: (2003) Justice Bertha Wilson, retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, and Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella, Justice of the Court of Appeal for Ontario; (2002) Fali Sam Nariman, President of the Bar Association of India; and (2001) the Law Society of Zimbabwe and that country's former Chief Justice, Sir Anthony Roy Gubbay.

A distinguished Advisory Board selected the Justice Prize recipients for 2004 after a worldwide solicitation of candidates. Current members of the Advisory Board are: the Honorable Rosalie Silberman Abella, Court of Appeal for Ontario, Canada and Justice Prize laureate; the Honorable Christine Chanet, Présidente Commité des Droits de l'Homme des Nations Unies; the Honorable Driss Dahak, Premier Président de la Cour Suprême Royaume du Maroc, Morocco; Sir Anthony Gubbay, former Chief Justice of Zimbabwe and Justice Prize laureate; the Honorable Albie Sachs, Constitutional Court of South Africa; and Jerome J. Shestack, Esq., former president of the American Bar Association. The Peter Gruber Foundation

The Peter Gruber Foundation was founded in 1993 and established a record of charitable giving principally in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where it is located. In recent years the Foundation has expanded its focus to a series of international awards recognizing discoveries and achievements that produce fundamental shifts in human knowledge and culture. Further information about the Peter Gruber Foundation and its awards is available from www.petergruberfoundation.org.

Two Eminent South African Jurists Win International Justice Prize for Advancing Equality and Human Rights

Peter Gruber Foundation Honors Arthur Chaskalson and Pius Langa

St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. December, 2004--Two renowned jurists from South Africa who have worked to redress their country's past decades of political, social and economic inequality have won the 2004 Justice Prize of the Peter Gruber Foundation. The two men have helped shape the Constitutional Court, established after South Africa's first democratic elections in 1994, into one of the world's pre-eminent courts. Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson and Deputy Chief Justice Pius Langa of the South African Constitutional Court were selected by the Foundation's Justice Advisory Board, a group of six eminent international jurists and attorneys, to receive the fourth annual award.

The $200,000 prize (which will be shared by the co-recipients) and gold medals were presented during ceremonies at the United Nations in New York City, December 6, 2004.

The official citation reads:

With different life experiences and varied professional backgrounds Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson and Deputy Chief Justice Pius Langa of the South African Constitutional Court have worked as an exemplary team at the head of an outstanding and innovative court, restraining arbitrary power and laying firm foundations for enduring justice and equality in the former citadel of racism and injustice.

Born in Johannesburg in 1931, Arthur Chaskalson received his bachelors and law degrees from the University of Witwatersrand and was admitted to the Johannesburg Bar in 1956. During his law career he appeared as counsel on behalf of members of the liberation movements in several major political trials, including the Rivonia Trial in 1963/1964 at which Nelson Mandela and other leaders of the African National Congress were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

In 1978 Chaskalson helped establish the non-profit Legal Resources Center, which sought to use the law to pursue justice and human rights in South Africa, and was its director until September 1993. He was also a consultant to the Namibian Constituent Assembly in connection with the drafting of the Constitution of Namibia (1989-1990), a Consultant to the African National Congress on constitutional issues (1990-1994), and served as a member of the Technical Committee on Constitutional Issues during negotiations for the transition to democracy in South Africa and the drafting of the transitional constitution.

In 1994 President Nelson Mandela appointed Arthur Chaskalson to be the first President of South Africa's new Constitutional Court, the country's highest court in constitutional matters, and in November 2001 he became the Chief Justice of South Africa.

He has received many awards and honorary degrees in recognition of his legal work, has been made an honorary member of the New York and Boston Bar Associations, and is a Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists.

Pius Nkonzo Langa was born in the Eastern Transvaal in 1939. He matriculated in 1960 through private study and obtained his Bachelor of Law (B Juris) in 1973 and Bachelor of Law (LLB) in 1976 at the University of South Africa. He joined South Africa's Department of Justice in 1958 as an interpreter and later served as prosecutor and magistrate. He resigned from the civil service in 1977 and was admitted as advocate later that year.

He practiced at the Natal Bar, attaining the rank of Senior Counsel in January 1994. As an advocate, Justice Langa's work involved civil and criminal matters with many trials of a political nature. He appeared in most of the significant political trials in the major centers of the country. His practice reflected the struggle against apartheid, and his clients included the underprivileged, various civic bodies and trade unions. He was a founder member of the Release Mandela Committee (Natal).

Justice Langa served on the boards and as trustee of many law-related institutions. He also was Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission for several years and participated in and organized conferences, workshops and seminars on human rights issues in South Africa and abroad. Politically he served in structures of the United Democratic Front and was involved in CODESA, the Multi-Party Negotiations Forum, and the Constitutional Committee of the African national Congress.

He was appointed a Judge of the Constitutional Court in 1994 and became Deputy President in 1997. In 1998 he was appointed as Chairman of the Langa Commission, which probed the Lesotho elections on behalf of the Southern African Development and Economic Community. Also in that year he was installed as Chancellor of the University of Natal.

"Justice is the process of unraveling arbitrary power and giving an opportunity to be heard with fairness and impartiality," said Peter Gruber, chairman of the Peter Gruber Foundation. "We are extremely pleased to honor Justice Chaskalson and Justice Langa and their work for justice, which has earned international respect and esteem."

Previous winners of the Justice Prize are: (2003) Justice Bertha Wilson, retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, and Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella, Justice of the Court of Appeal for Ontario; (2002) Fali Sam Nariman, President of the Bar Association of India; and (2001) the Law Society of Zimbabwe and that country's former Chief Justice, Sir Anthony Roy Gubbay.

A distinguished Advisory Board selected the Justice Prize recipients for 2004 after a worldwide solicitation of candidates. Current members of the Advisory Board are: the Honorable Rosalie Silberman Abella, Court of Appeal for Ontario, Canada and Justice Prize laureate; the Honorable Christine Chanet, Présidente Commité des Droits de l'Homme des Nations Unies; the Honorable Driss Dahak, Premier Président de la Cour Suprême Royaume du Maroc, Morocco; Sir Anthony Gubbay, former Chief Justice of Zimbabwe and Justice Prize laureate; the Honorable Albie Sachs, Constitutional Court of South Africa; and Jerome J. Shestack, Esq., former president of the American Bar Association. The Peter Gruber Foundation

The Peter Gruber Foundation was founded in 1993 and established a record of charitable giving principally in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where it is located. In recent years the Foundation has expanded its focus to a series of international awards recognizing discoveries and achievements that produce fundamental shifts in human knowledge and culture. Further information about the Peter Gruber Foundation and its awards is available from www.petergruberfoundation.org.