From a young age, Albie Sachs played a prominent part in the struggle for justice in South Africa. As a result, he was detained in solitary confinement, tortured by sleep deprivation and eventually blown up by a car bomb which cost him his right arm and his sight in one eye.
After helping draft South Africa's post-apartheid Constitution, he was appointed by Nelson Mandela to be a member of the country's first Constitutional Court. Over the course of his 15-year term on the court he has grappled with major issues confronting modern South Africa, and the challenges posed to the fledgling democracy as it sought to overcome the injustices of the apartheid regime.
Sachs's book The Strange Alchemy of Life and Law (Oxford University Press) provides an insider's perspective on modern South Africa and a rare glimpse into the working of a judicial mind.
Jack Greenberg is an American attorney, author, and legal scholar. He was director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund for a quarter century, and was involved in numerous crucial cases, including Brown v. Board of Education. He has argued 40 civil rights cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He is currently the Alphonse Fletcher Jr. Professor of Law at Columbia University.
Greenberg has traveled to numerous countries to promote human rights, including the former Soviet Union, South Africa (while it was still under apartheid), Cameroon, Sudan, Hungary, and Bulgaria.
He has published numerous articles and books on civil rights including Brown v. Board of Education: Witness to a Landmark Decision, a memoir that chronicles the legal battles of the civil rights movement, culminating in the landmark trial and decision, Brown v. Board of Education.
Aryeh Neier is the President of the Open Society Institute. Prior to joining the Institute in 1993, he served for 12 years as Executive Director of Human Rights Watch.
Before that, he spent 15 years at the American Civil Liberties Union, including eight years as national Executive Director. Neier has served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at New York University for more than a dozen years.
Neier has contributed more than 150 op-ed articles in newspapers including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the International Herald Tribune, and articles that have appeared in newspapers in many countries.
Author of six books, he has also contributed chapters to more than 20 others. Neier, a naturalized American, was born in Nazi Germany and became a refugee at an early age. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the recipient of six honorary doctorates, the American Bar Association's Gavel Award and the International Bar Association's Rule of Law Award.
Albie Sachs became involved in human rights activism as a second-year law student at the University of Cape Town, when he took part in the Defiance of Unjust Laws Campaign. Three years later, he attended the Congress of the People at Kliptown, where the Freedom Charter was adopted.
As an advocate at the Cape Bar, Sachs defended people charged under racist statutes and repressive security laws. Many faced the death sentence. He himself was raided by the security police, subjected to banning orders restricting his movement, and eventually placed in solitary confinement without trial for two prolonged spells of detention.
In 1966 he went into exile. After spending 11 years studying and teaching law in England, he worked for a further 11 years in Mozambique as law professor and legal researcher. In 1988 he was blown up by a bomb placed in his car by South African security agents, losing an arm and his sight in one eye.
During the 1980s, working closely with Oliver Tambo, leader of the ANC in exile, he helped draft the organization's Code of Conduct, as well as its statutes. After recovering from the bomb attack, he devoted himself full-time to preparations for a new democratic constitution for South Africa.
In 1990 he returned home, and as a member of the Constitutional Committee and the National Executive of the ANC, took an active part in the negotiations which led to South Africa becoming a constitutional democracy. After the first democratic election in 1994 he was appointed by President Nelson Mandela to serve on the newly established Constitutional Court.
In addition to his work on the court, he has traveled to many countries, sharing South African experience in healing divided societies.