Donnelly said Akhavan, with his many outstanding acts of service over decades of effort, meets the award’s criteria for “dedication to the advancement of human rights and the rule of law for the long term. or for a single act of exceptional service “.
Akhavan served as recently appointed senior advisor on Global Affairs Canada’s continued response to the incident of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752, as Principal Investigator at the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights, as Full Professor in the Faculty of Law of McGill University and as appointee at Yale Law School, Oxford University, Paris Nanterre University, European University Institute and Leiden University.
Akhavan has represented victims of crimes against humanity and genocide, including as a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague and as Senior Legal Adviser to the Prosecutor’s Office of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. His practice of international law has covered Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Rwanda and East Timor.
Akhavan has been a lawyer in important cases before the European Court of Human Rights, the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice, such as The Gambia v. Myanmar, the case concerning the application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide against the Persecuted Rohingya Minority. He has also appeared before the Supreme Courts of Canada and the United States
A member of the Ontario Bar since 2012 and of the New York State Bar, Akhavan received his LLB from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1989 and his LLM SJD from Harvard Law School in 1990. He has many written on international criminal law. and delivered the CBC Massey Lectures in 2017.