Judge Theodor Meron

President of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals since 1 March 2012.
Born on 28 April 1930 in Kalisz, Poland

Judge Theodor Meron was appointed the President of the Mechanism by the United Nations Secretary-General on 1 March 2012 for a period of four years. Judge Meron is currently serving his third term as the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia following his election in November 2011 and re-election on 1 October 2013. His first term as President was served between 2003 and 2005. Judge Meron will continue to serve as President of the ICTY while performing his functions as President of the Mechanism.

Since his election as a Judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) by the U.N. General Assembly in March 2001, President Meron, a citizen of the United States, has served on the Appeals Chamber, which hears appeals from both the ICTY and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). An author of eleven books, he is a leading scholar of international humanitarian law, human rights, and international criminal law and the author of some of the books and articles that helped build the legal foundations for international criminal tribunals, President Meron has contributed to the development of international law, and especially international humanitarian and criminal law, in a variety of fora.

Prior to his election to the ICTY, President Meron was a Public Member of the U.S. Delegation to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) Conference on Human Dimensions in Copenhagen in 1990. In 1998, he served as a member of the U.S. Delegation to the Rome Conference on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court (ICC), where he was involved in the drafting of the provisions on crimes, including war crimes and crimes against humanity. He also served on the Preparatory Commission for the Establishment of the ICC, with particular responsibilities for the definition of the crime of aggression. He has acted as counsel for the United States before the International Court of Justice, and in 2000-2001 served as Counselor on International Law in the U.S. Department of State.

President Meron has also served on several committees of experts of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), including those on Internal Strife, on the Environment and Armed Conflicts, and on Direct Participation in Hostilities under International Humanitarian Law. In addition, he was a member of the steering committee of ICRC experts on Customary Rules of International Humanitarian Law. President Meron is a frequent lecturer at ICRC seminars, and he founded and continues to lead the annual ICRC seminars for U.N. diplomats on international humanitarian law at New York University, a tradition spanning nearly three decades.

He is a member of the Swiss appointed panel on human dignity. He has also served on the advisory committees or boards of several human rights organizations, including Americas Watch and the International League for Human Rights. In addition, he is a member of the Institute of International Law, the Board of Editors of the Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law, the (U.S.) Council on Foreign Relations, the French Society of International Law, the American Branch of the International Law Association, and the Bar of the State of New York. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. President Meron is a past Honorary President and a patron of the American Society of International Law. He served as Co-Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of International Law from 1993 to 1998 and is now an honorary editor.

President Meron, who received his legal education at the Universities of Jerusalem, Harvard (where he received his doctorate), and Cambridge, became a professor of international law at New York University School of Law in 1978. In 1994 he was appointed the Charles L. Denison Chair, and he is now Charles L. Denison Professor Emeritus and Judicial Fellow at New York University School of Law. Between 1991 and 1995 he was also Professor of International Law at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, and he has been a Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard University and at the University of California (Berkeley).

President Meron was awarded the 2005 Rule of Law Award by the International Bar Association and the 2006 Manley O. Hudson Medal of the American Society of International Law. In 2007 he was made Officer of the Legion of Honor by the President of France. The recipient of the Charles Homer Haskins Prize of the American Council of Learned Societies for 2008, he was also elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009. In 2011 he received a doctorate honoris causa from the University of Warsaw. He was made “Grand Officier” of the National Order of Merit by the President of France in 2014.

A frequent contributor to the American Journal of International Law and other legal journals, Judge Meron delivered the 2003 General Course of Public International Law at The Hague Academy of International Law. He is the author of more than 100 articles in legal publications. His books are: Investment Insurance in International Law (Oceana-Sijthoff 1976); The United Nations Secretariat (Lexington Books 1977); Human Rights in International Law (Oxford University Press 1984); Human Rights Law-Making in the United Nations (Oxford University Press 1986) (awarded the certificate of merit of the American Society of International Law); Human Rights in Internal Strife: Their International Protection (Sir Hersch Lauterpacht Memorial Lectures, Grotius Publications 1987); Human Rights and Humanitarian Norms as Customary Law (Oxford University Press 1989); Henry’s Wars and Shakespeare’s Laws (Oxford University Press 1993); Bloody Constraint: War and Chivalry in Shakespeare (Oxford University Press 1998); War Crimes Law Comes of Age: Essays (Oxford University Press 1998); International Law In the Age of Human Rights (Martinus Nijhoff 2004); and The Humanization of International Law (Martinus Nijhoff 2006); and The Making of International Criminal Justice: The View from the Bench: Selected Speeches (Oxford University Press 2011). He is also among the editors of Humanizing the Laws of War: Selected Writings of Richard Baxter (Oxford University Press 2013).

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