Cassese was granted Doctorates honoris causa by Erasmus University Rotterdam, Paris X University and the University of Geneva, and was a member of the Institut de Droit International. In 2002, he received the Grand Prix awarded by the Académie Universelle des Cultures, presided over by the Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, for "exceptional contribution to the protection of human rights in Europe and the world". On 13 November 2009, Cassese received the Erasmus Prize for his services in the field of international law.
Cassese was Chairman of the Council of Europe Steering Committee for Human Rights from 1987 to 1988 and President of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture from 1989 to 1993. He represented the Italian Government on many occasions at UN meetings on human rights and served as the representative at the Geneva Diplomatic Conference on the Humanitarian Law of Armed Conflicts from 1974 to 1977.
He was the first President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), serving in this capacity from 1993 to 1997. After his tenure as President, he continued to sit as a Tribunal judge until February 2000.
In October 2004, Cassese was appointed by UN Secretary-GeneralKofi Annan to be the Chairperson for the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur. This Commission was to investigate potential international and human rights violations taking place in Darfur, and to determine whether or not acts of genocide had occurred.
On 25 January 2005, the Commission issued its "Report to the Secretary-General." The Commission found that while there was evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity, the government of Sudan had not committed acts of genocide. This finding was contrary to the position of the United States, which had already labeled the Government's activities as "genocide". The Commission recommended the U.N. Security Council use its referral power under the Rome Statute to refer the Darfur case to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. This recommendation was expected from the Commission, as Cassese was known to be an ardent supporter of the International Criminal Court. In March 2005, the U.N. Security Council acted upon the ICC recommendation and used its referral power for the first time to refer the Darfur case to the ICC.
Antonio Cassese died in Florence on 21 October 2011, after a long fight with cancer. He was 74.
Antonio Cassese Initiative for Peace, Justice and Humanity
In April 2012, a group of Cassese's friends and admirers launched, in Geneva, the Antonio Cassese Initiative for Peace, Justice and Humanity. The Initiative aims at perpetuating the values incarnated by Professor Cassese's teachings, and at promoting - by means of a wide range of education and research activities - international peace, human rights and the rule of law.
^Press Release : Formation of a European Community for de-listing the PMOI, by Alejo Vidal-Quadras MP, European Parliament, 18 September 2008 ; "Iran Liberation" #280, 1 June 2008 (News Bulletin of the Foreign Committee of the Natrional Council of Resistance of Iran)