FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 27, 2001
Lawrence J. Goodrich, Communications Director, (202) 523-3240, ext. 27
Leila Nadya Sadat of St. Louis, Mo., and Felice Gaer of Paramus, N.J., have been appointed by House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. The two will serve until May 14, 2003.
Professor Sadat is a professor of law at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. She has written widely in both international and comparative law and is best known for her work in international criminal law. She received her juris doctor degree from Tulane Law School, a masters from Columbia Law School, and a diploma in advanced studies from the University of Paris I - Sorbonne. Professor Sadat has clerked at the French Cour de Cassation and Conseil d'État, and in the Fifth Circuit in the United States. She is the author of more than two dozen publications in English and French dealing with such topics as genocide; crimes against humanity; the new International Criminal Court; and the role of the European Court of Justice. She is very involved in the effort to establish a permanent international criminal court, and was a non-governmental-organization delegate to the conference preparatory committee and to the 1998 UN diplomatic conference in Rome at which the court was established.
A longtime advocate for religious freedom and other human rights, Ms. Gaer has served since 1993 as director of the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights of the American Jewish Committee. She is an independent expert for the UN Committee Against Torture, the official body that monitors state compliance with the international Convention Against Torture. From 1991-1992 she was executive director, European Programs, for the United Nations Association of the USA. From 1982 to 1991 she served as executive director of the International League for Human Rights. She was a public member of the United States Delegations to the UN Commission on Human Rights (1994-1999); the UN World Conference on Human Rights (1993); and the UN World Conference on Women (1995). She is a graduate of Wellesley College (A.B., 1968), and received two masters degrees from Columbia University. She is a member or officer of several human rights organizations, including the Steering Committee of Human Rights Watch/Helsinki and the International Human Rights Council, the Carter Center, Emory University, and is the author of more than 25 articles.
The Commission consists of nine voting Commissioners and the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, who is a non-voting member. Three Commissioners are selected by the President, two by the leaders of the President's party in Congress, and four by the congressional leaders of the other party. Commissioners serve for a two-year term and are eligible for reappointment. Commissioners Sadat and Gaer join Dr. Firuz Kazemzadeh and Ambassador Charles Stith, who were appointed by Senate Majority Leader Thomas Daschle; Dean Michael Young, who was appointed by Senate Republican leader Trent Lott; and Nina Shea, who was appointed by Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom was created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to monitor the status of freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief abroad, as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and related international instruments, and to give independent policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and the Congress." src="http://www.uscirf.org/images/layout/subbottomtext1.gif" />
Felice D. Gaer