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Human rights work still ‘relevant’

Mainly Human Rights: Studies in Honour of J.J. Cremona. Foundation Internationale de Malte, 2017 (second revised edition).
Salvino Busuttil (ed.)

The late Ambassador Prof. Salvino Busuttil had concluded, prior to his demise, the second revised edition of Mainly Human Rights: Studies in Honour of J.J. Cremona. Originally this volume was published in 1999. Although nearly two decades have since then passed by, this edited work continues to be of utmost relevance to those persons who study human rights at an international, European and national level.

Consisting of 24 chapters penned by world famous experts in their respective area of specialisation – human rights in its manifold guises – this international festschrift in honour of Chief Justice Emeritus Prof. John J. Cremona is here to stay.

Prof. Cremona had contributed in diverse ways to the study of law, not only as an academic who taught law at the Faculty of Laws of the University of Malta and who published extensively on the subject but through his appointments in the local and foreign judiciary.

In Malta, he served as Chief Justice, while in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) he ended his career there as its vice-president. This liber amicorum thus celebrates a distinguished member of the Maltese legal profession through a variety of book chapters by renowned legal experts in the area of human rights.

The very first chapter of this publication, entitled ‘The Making of a Constitution: The South African Experience’ cannot but remind its readers of the immense contribution Prof. Cremona has given to his country for he is the author of the Constitution of Malta, that very same constitution which we still enjoy to date.

One can never forget Prof. Cremona’s paper on the jury system in Malta

Other papers, inter alia, deal with the domestic legal effects of judgments of the ECHR, social protection of children and youths, blasphemy and freedom of expression and jury trial. As to the latter topic, one can never forget Prof. Cremona’s paper published in the prestigious American peer reviewed journal – the American Journal of Comparative Law – on the jury system in Malta.

Rolv Ryssdal – former president of the ECHR – in his chapter ‘Vice-President John Cremona at the European Court of Human Rights’ chose to write directly upon Prof. Cremona rather than on an academic subject pertinent to human rights law, noting that Cremona was elected in 1965 as the first Maltese judge to sit on the ECHR and remained a judge of that court for 27 years, re-elected twice and elected vice-president in 1986 and 1989.

Cremona himself has also written the Epilogue to the second revised edition of Mainly Human Rights. As he reminisces, the president of the ECHR at the time of Cremona’s appointment thereto was René Cassin, the principal author of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

The contributors to this oeuvre include Dean Spielmann, president of the ECHR, Paul Mahony, registrar and judge of the said court, Michael O’Boyle, deputy registrar of the court and author of numerous works on human rights in Europe, together with other distinguished judges, scholars, ambassadors, ministers and international civil servants.

Through the personal experience which all these writers bring with them in the realm of Human Rights Law makes this volume not only an interesting read but one which is also full of personal insights not found in other publications as well as an excellent introduction and companion book to the study of Human Rights Law.

Prof. Aquilina is the Dean of the Faculty of Laws at the University of Malta.

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