Life and Times of Louise Arbour
There is much to be said about this woman who has been working on the side of justice since 1971. Critics are omnipresent, but in the case of Louise Arbour, the simplest of facts sing loudly of her praises. This once young girl attended a convent school, pushed herself through college and University of Montreal, only to embark on an extraordinary journey of justice.
Louise Arbour is a Canadian who makes a difference as a UN Commissioner, as a judge for the Supreme Court, and through her role in the Kingston Penitentiary Inquiry.
There was an incredible report by Louise Arbour in the 1990’s that rocked the boats of so many. Through this period of her life, she was working as a judge for the Court of Appeal of Ontario. Arbour’s Inquiry into the Prison for Women at the Kingston Penitentiary in Kingston, Ontario was a large and controversial move. There was an event at the prison on April 22, 1994 involving six female prisoners. They suffered abuse at the hands of management, the guards, and male inmates.
They underwent illegal segregation, strip searches, and the list sadly goes on. Louise held media attention for really the first major time in her career over this, and was up against a surprising amount of criticism. Even some of the inmates, those that she was helping in the first place, felt “Arbour was too lenient with officials who violated prisoners’ rights” (Driedger, 1996) SQ. Her report was extremely important in the changing of ways that female convicts are handled through the Correctional Service of Canada.
Her demands were just and fair, and essentially led to the closure of the prison in 2008. Her report holds the Correctional Service of Canada to a much higher standard. Women have an equal voice on the inside now; they have rights. It was Secretary General Kofi Annan who named Arbour United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which she graciously accepted in 2004. She had been working as chief prosecutor of war crimes for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the former Yugoslav.
While Louise Arbour’s experience and knowledge was developed around the Canadian criminal justice system, her time in the United Nations had developed her knowledge and skill in international law (Louise Arbour (Cover Story), 2000) SUMM. Rwanda was on her list, and Louise managed the great victory of indictments due to genocide against former government ministers there (Louise Arbour (Cover Story), 2000) PARA. Meanwhile, Former Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic was brought to trial at The Hague, thanks to Arbour, following his arrest for crimes against humanity.
After a 5 year trial, justice was served when he died in his cell of natural causes in March 2006. While Louise was responsible for many convictions, investigations and preservations of human rights during her time serving the United Nations, and this is a case that stands out above the rest. There is still controversy over whether or not Louise fulfilled her position adequately during her roles in the U. N. However, a very important person took great notice of Arbour, and found her to be so successful that he bestowed upon her the chair on which she now sits; a judge for the Supreme Court of Canada.
One of the Justices was finally retiring, and the opportunity for Arbour to take the seat was at hand. This would be Louise’s final position until her retirement. It is well known that the Supreme Court of Canada handles important and usually high-profile cases, of things from administrative law to constitutional law, and everything in between. Sitting as Madame Justice on countless cases and making her rulings, casting her vote, Louise has made an impact on our country.
It was the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin (2004) who said it best: And then she plunged into her life as a member of this Court, with the energy and dedication that she brought to every faucet of her life. On the Court, she has been a vibrant, incisive, and inquisitive presence. She brought her extraordinary sense of humour to our deliberations, and unfailing moral commitments to our decisions. A court of nine judges is like the delicate movement of a clock and her departure will no doubt change the sound and rhythm of the Court. McLachlin, 2004)LQ With Louise and her devotion to the Rule of Law, the Supreme Court of Canada has prevailed in many cases, serving justice fairly and impartially. Louise has had her hand in many decisions, has written many articles, books, reports etc. She is an influential person; living testimony of the Rule of Law. Building her life on that very principle, others look to her for guidance, seek her counsel, and regard her words as truth. Through all of her works, especially those as Commissioner, Justice, and Judge, Louise
Arbour has made an unforgettable impact who continues to make a difference. And Canada is proud to claim her as one of their own. Works Cited Driedger, S. &. (1996). The Prison System: ‘Cruel and Degrading’. Maclean’s , pp. 109 (16), 24. INDEPTH: LOUSE ARBOUR. (2008, March 11). Retrieved from CBC News: www. cbc. ca/news Louise Arbour (Cover Story). (2000). Mclean’s , pp. 113 (36), 44. Martin, P. (2004). Louise Arbour: Empathetic Judge. Time , 163 (17), 114. McLachlin, B. (2004, June 7). Judges of the Court. Retrieved from Supreme Court of Canada: www. scc-csc. gc. ca