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2003 Women's Rights Prize

Navanethem Pillay

Laureate Profile

Judge Navanethem Pillay has been both a symbol and a standard-bearer for women's rights in her country, in the region, and throughout the world. She was the first woman to open a law practice in Natal Province, where she represented many opponents of apartheid. She was also the first black woman attorney appointed acting judge of the Supreme Court of South Africa. She served for eight years as a judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and in2003 was elected one of the 18 judges of the International Criminal Court.