Human rights champion George Bizos has died on the age of 92, ‘peacefully at dwelling of pure causes’ surrounded by household, in keeping with a press release by the Authorized Assets Centre.
George Bizos was born in 1928 in Kirani, Greece, and arrived along with his father in South Africa, aged 13, as a refugee from World Warfare 2. He went on to review on the College of the Witwatersrand and was admitted to the Johannesburg Bar in 1954.
That marked the beginning of a authorized profession that was actually outstanding — not solely within the courtroom, but in addition in its mirroring of South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy.
Bizos’s dedication to human rights and after 1994 South Africa’s Structure — he helped draft the nation’s supreme legislation — remained unshaken as he continued to pursue the observe of legislation previous retirement.
A lifelong buddy of Nelson Mandela, whom he met throughout his research, Bizos helped defend Madiba, alongside Govan Mbeki and Walter Sisulu, as a part of the Rivonia Trial group.
He additionally appeared in quite a few inquests into deaths in detention throughout apartheid, together with these of Neil Agget, Ahmed Timol and Steve Biko.
On the Reality and Reconciliation Fee he served, amongst others, the households of black consciousness chief Steve Biko and the Cradock 4 — Matthew Goniwe, Fort Calata, Sparrow Mkhonto and Sicelo Mhlauli — to oppose amnesty functions by apartheid brokers.
In democratic South Africa, Bizos, as a part of the Authorized Assets Centre, appeared for a number of the mine employees’ households on the Marikana Fee of Inquiry into the police killing of 34 mine employees on 16 August 2012.
President Cyril Ramaphosa introduced Bizos’s dying throughout an interplay with the South African Nationwide Editors’ Discussion board.
“It is a very unhappy second for our nation,” he stated, recounting Bizos’s failing well being throughout an interplay with him two months in the past.
“The information is unhappy for us as South Africans. George Bizos is a kind of legal professionals who contributed immensely to the attainment of our democracy…”
Justice Minister Ronald Lamola paid tribute to Bizos’s lifelong dedication to human rights.
“Advocate Bizos was a selfless servant of the authorized occupation and we owe an awesome gratitude to him.”
The Ahmed Kathrada Basis government director, Neshaan Bolton, described Bizos as “a towering big” in South Africa’s liberation wrestle in a tweet:
“Now all of the Rivonia trialists are joined by the final member of their authorized group. Hamba kahle, Uncle George.”
Bizos practised as an advocate till 1990. A yr later he joined the Authorized Assets Centre as counsel in its Constitutional Litigation Unit.
In 1999, then president Mandela awarded him the Order for Meritorious Service Class 2, whereas in 2001 he obtained the Worldwide Trial Lawyer Prize of the Yr from the Worldwide Academy of Trial Attorneys.
Bizos is survived by three sons and 7 grandchildren. DM