some nice bio detail here
The daughter of a Tamil bus driver in Durban, she experienced human rights violations firsthand. Pillay earned a law degree at Harvard, but for 28 years during apartheid, she was not allowed to set foot in a judge’s chambers as a lawyer because of her South Asian origins. In 1995 she became the first woman of color to become a judge on the High Court.
Pillay, born in 1941, also served as a judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda prosecuting crimes related to that nation’s genocide. She presided over landmark cases in international law that established rape as a war crime, convicted a former head of state for atrocities committed during his rule and prosecuted media for inciting genocide. She has served for five years on the International Criminal Court at The Hague.