Canadian MP and former justice minister Irwin Cotler announced on Wednesday that he will not run in the 2015 federal election.
“I have enjoyed the honor and privilege of serving my riding, Parliament, and the Canadian people as a whole for close to fifteen years. I look forward to completing my mandate and continuing the pursuit of justice in other arenas,” Cotler posted on Facebook.
In a separate statement, Cotler said he plans to remain “active in public life, lecturing and writing on the issues of the day, advancing the causes of human rights and international justice, and advocating on behalf of political prisoners.”
A renowned expert and McGill University professor of international and human rights law, and a staunch supporter of Israel, the 73-year-old began his political career in 1999. From 2003 to 2006, Cotler served as Canada’s justice minister and attorney general. As a human rights attorney, he represented key political prisoners around the world, including Nelson Mandela, Jacobo Timmerman, and Soviet refusenik Natan Sharansky, later an Israeli cabinet minister and now chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel.
But Cotler pointed Wednesday to his efforts to combat human trafficking and legalize marriage for gays and lesbians during his term as justice minister, saying they were among his greatest accomplishments.
Cotler has been interviewed by and written for The Times of Israel, recently denouncing Palestinian incitement and telling the Times that he regretted not being more outspoken about it.
In December 2012, Cotler appealed to the international community to hold Iran accountable for state-sanctioned incitement to genocide and violations of human rights.