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Northwestern Law to honor women judges in Afghanistan

Judge Anisa Rasooli will accept Global Jurist of the Year Award on behalf of all Afghan women judges

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s Center for International Human Rights (CIHR) will award its seventh Global Jurist of the Year Award to all women judges in Afghanistan, in recognition of the courage they all have shown under the difficult circumstances of the last months. A group of Afghan women judges who have left Afghanistan will accompany Judge Anisa Rasooli when she accepts the award.

The judges will be honored during an awards dinner on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022. They also will visit with scholars and judges and meet with Northwestern Law students.

The Global Jurist of the Year Award is designed to honor a sitting judge, whether in an international or national court, who has demonstrated in his or her career courage in the face of adversity to uphold and defend fundamental human rights or the principles of international criminal justice. Jurists from all nations and tribunals are eligible for consideration.

The International Refugee Assistance Project, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law Chapter; Northwestern’s Buffett Institute for Global Affairs; the International Association of Women Judges; and the International Law Foundation are co-sponsors of the event.

“The women judges of Afghanistan have, by their example and through their work, demonstrated unimaginable courage and commitment,” said Northwestern Law professors Tom Geraghty and Juliet Sorensen in a joint statement. “They continue to stand for right even as they endure the heartbreaking hardships that recent events have forced upon them. We at Northwestern’s Center for International Human Rights look forward to welcoming these distinguished women to Chicago and to honoring them with the CIHR’s Global Jurist of the Year Award.”

Known as “the RBG of Afghanistan,” Judge Rasooli is the only woman to be nominated twice to the Afghan Supreme Council, nominated by both former president of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai and by former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.The first vote failed in parliament by a small margin. The second vote never got scheduled because of the fall of the government. Judge Rasooli has served in all major courts both in first instance and appellate courts. She has served on both the anti-corruption courts and the court for serious crimes of violence against women. One of her many projects was heading a three-year study on prison reform. She is a past president of the Afghan Women Judges Association. 

Judge Rasooli and her family were able to leave Afghanistan and are now in Poland. She received a Humanitarian Special Benefits Parole visa for her and her family and is expected to relocate to the United States in the near future.