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Karl Zemanek

  • Previous head of the former department of Public Law
    and International Relations at the University of Vienna
  • Member of the Institut de Droit International
  • Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration


Short Bio

Karl Zemanek graduated as a Doctor of Law from the University of Vienna in 1952, and became Associate Professor of international law and international organizations at the same faculty six years later. He held the post of a full professor from 1964 until his retirement in 1998. His professional experiences include the post of the Director of the Institute of international law and international relations at the University of Vienna (1986-1996), Guest Professor at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna, as well as Guest Professor at the National Defence Academy (both 1965-1988). He was Legal Consultant of the Austrian Ministry for Foreign Affairs (1967-2003), attended 12 sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations as member of the Austrian Delegation and Representative on the 6th Committee, and was President of the UN Conference on the succession of states in respect of Treaties (1977-78) as well as of the UN Conference on the Law of Treaties between States and International Organizations or between International Organizations (1986). He was also the 2nd Vice President of the Institut de Droit International (1999-2001).

[link to detailed CV]


Research focus

  • Use of force in International Law
  • Crimes against Humanity


Recent relevant publications

The Legal Foundations of the International System. General Course on Public International Law, 266 RdC (1997), pp. 21-335.

The Basic Principles of UN Charter Law, R.St.J.Macdonald & D.M.Johnston (eds.), Towards World Constitutionalism, Issues in the Legal Ordering of the World Community (Leiden 2005), pp. 401-430.

How to Identify Peremptory Norms of International Law, in: P.-M. Dupuy et al.Völkerrecht als Wertordnung/Common Values in International Law. Essays in Honour of Christian Tomuschat (Kehl 2006), pp. 1103-1117. (eds.), Introduction to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, United Nations Audiovisiual Library of International law, www.un.org/law/avl (2009)

Introduction to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties Between States and International Organizations or Between International Organizations, www.un.org/law/avl (2009)

On the Inadequate Coordination of the Principles of International Law, in:Guerra y Paz: 1945-2009. Obra homenaje al Dr. Santiago Torres Bernardez (Universidad del Pais Vasco 2010)

The Metamorphosis of Jus Cogens: From an Institution of Treaty Law to the Bedrock of the International Legal Order? In: E. Cannizzaro, The Law of Treaties Beyond the Vienna Convention (Oxford University Press 2011)

International Law Needs Development. But Where To? In U. Fastenrath et al. (eds.), From Bilateralism to Community Interest. Essay in Honour of Judge Bruno Simma (Oxford University Press 2011).

International Legal Studies
University of Vienna

Department for European, International and Comparative Law
Schottenbastei 10-16
A-1010 Vienna
University of Vienna | Universitätsring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43-1-4277-0