SOUTH African president Nelson Mandela has accepted an invitation to head up a new human rights institute.
The institute, to be established by the International Bar Association this week, will operate out of the association's London headquarters.
Volunteers around the world will observe trials and produce studies, research and workshops to support the work of the IBA's human rights committee.
The association previously operated a standing committee on human rights and a just rule of law which produced the original proposal for an institute.
Mandela was approached in the summer to take on the role of honorary president and confirmed his acceptance last week.
"The IBA is greatly honoured that President Nelson Mandela has accepted the role," said IBA president Ross Harper. "There is probably no leading statesman in the world who has experienced more at first hand in the way of abuses of his own human rights."