Opening of Antonio Cassese Archives

Report by professor Nehal Bhuta and photo credit to EUI.

On November 10, 2016, a special event was held at the European University Institute’s Villa Salviati, to celebrate the opening of the Antonio Cassese Archives. By generous gift of the Cassese family, 40 boxes of the collected papers of Antonio Cassese were received, inventoried and organized by the Historical Archives of the European Union. The documents held in the Archive are open to the public and may be consulted in the reading room of the Historical Archives at Villa Salviati. The Archive consists of 39 files and it is arranged in four series: Professional career, Correspondence, Press articles, Photographic materials. Documents include official statements, papers, legal opinions, administrative documents describing the various positions held by Cassese. The first series reflects Cassese’s career, mainly as professor of international law, legal expert on human rights as part of the Italian delegation on UN, President of the ”European Committee for the Prevention of Torture”, President and judge of the ”International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia”. Some files include papers written by Cassese and working documents. One third of the paper files are composed of correspondences (11 files), and include correspondence with leading figures in international law, international politics and political philosophy. The archive also includes press articles written by Cassese and interviews, which give a significant insight into Cassese’s opinion and thoughts. Lastly the archive comprises about 500 photos of meetings and events which Cassese attended and places which he visited. Further information on each file, can be found on line, here: The opening of the Archive was marked by a day-long public event, which commenced with the University of Florence’s Fifth Annual Antonio Cassese Lecture, delivered by Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, Vice-President of the International Court of Justice on the topic of “The Role of International Lawyers Between Theory and Practice.” Professor Sabino Cassese (LUISS University) and Professor Luigi Condorelli (University of Florence) reflected on the contents of the Archive, and Dr. Dieter Schlenker, Director of the Historical Archives of the European Union, described the inventory of the Archive. After lunch, Professor Sandesh Sivakumaran (University of Nottingham) delivered an address on “Who Makes International Humanitarian Law?” with comments by Professor Joseph Weiler (New York University), and Professor Fannie LaFontaine (Laval University) gave a lecture entitled “International Criminal Law in a Divided World” with comments by Dr. Luisa Vierucci (University of Florence). During the course of the day a number of interventions and comments also recalled the extraordinary life and career of Antonio Cassese, and his lasting juristic, intellectual, personal and institutional influence on international law. The Antonio Cassese Archive was opened approximately 5 years after his death in order to help preserve his legacy and allow future generations of international lawyers and historians to draw inspiration and insight from his papers.