The law's statesman

Author: | Published: 1 Sep 2009

Rachel Evans
Asia editor

Hans Corell is an engaging figure with a love of music, poetry and birds. But for 10 years as under-secretary-general for legal affairs and the legal counsel of the UN between March 1994 and March 2004, Corell was also the trusted confidante of Secretary General Kofi Annan, and privy to some of the most high-profile politicking of the day. (Indeed, he wrote a hymn for bagpipes dedicated to Annan.)

Corell helped set up the international tribunal on the genocide in Rwanda, was instrumental in establishing an international tribunal in the wake of the Sierra Leone war and was present at the signing of the agreement establishing the extraordinary chambers of the national court of Cambodia to try the remaining members of the Khmer Rouge.

With recent history in mind, one of his most interesting assignments was a trip with Kofi Annan to meet Saddam Hussein in 1998...