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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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[This content is not available in "Englisch" yet]

We wish you and your loved ones a happy and blessed festive season and a happy new year! We would like to thank you for your interest in our work over the past year and hope that you will continue to support us in the new year.

The Academy and the library will be closed over the Christmas holidays (25.12. & 26.12) and on New Year's Day (1.1.).

Job advertisement: We are looking for four research assistants (m/f/d)

At the Academy for European Human Rights Protection at the University of Cologne under the direction of Professor Dr DDr. h.c. Angelika Nußberger M.A. has 4 vacancies for research assistants with the possibility of a doctorate.

Your tasks:

" Doctoral research in the Academy's main research areas (European and international human rights protection, constitutional and international law and Eastern European law)

" Implementation and organisation of academic events and projects

" Participation in teaching (working groups, moot court, etc.)

Further information can be found here.

Job advertisement: Two Student assistants (SHK) (m/f/d)

The Academy for European Human Rights Protection at the University of Cologne is looking for two student assistants (SHK) (m/f/d) for an employment of 8 hours per week as soon as possible.

(1) Student Assistant (SHK) (m/f/d) (Dr Paula Rhein-Fischer)

Your tasks: Research tasks and support with all tasks in the context of the third-party funded project "Mnemonic Reality: Investigating Memory Law's Impact on Reality and Reality's Impact on Memory Laws" (cooperation project of the Universities of Cologne, Vilnius and Lisbon). 

Further information can be found here. Application deadline: 14 December 2023

(2) Student Assistant (SHK) (m/f/d) (Professor Dr DDr. h.c. Angelika Nußberger M.A.),

Your tasks: Research on the Academy's main research areas; support with all tasks in academic teaching and research facilities.

Further information can be found here. Application deadline: 31 December 2023

Prof. Dr Adam Bodnar, visiting scholar at the Academy for European Human Rights Protection, was elected to the Senate of the Polish Republic with sensational results.

Prof. Dr Adam Bodnar, Ombudsman (Commissioner for Civil Rights) in Poland from 9 September 2015 to 15 July 2021, was elected in the elections to the Polish Senate on 15 October 2023 with the best result ever achieved in elections to the Senate of 628,422 votes for his constituency (Warsaw Centre and for Poles living abroad). As part of the Global Faculty, he has been a visiting professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Cologne since February 2022 and will remain so until January 2024, during which time he has provided long-term support for the work of the Academy for European Human Rights Protection.

Professor Bodnar's academic work focuses on constitutional law and human rights. He was the Commissioner for Civil Rights in Poland, whose aim is to protect citizens from unlawful state behaviour and to preserve human rights. Professor Bodnar was and is involved in numerous non-governmental organisations, e.g. Client Earth Poland, which are dedicated to the protection of human rights. He is also the author or co-author of numerous scientific publications, particularly in the field of human rights. Adam Bodnar has been honoured with European and international awards for his work.

The Cologne/Bonn Academy in Exile (CBA) introduces itself

The Cologne/Bonn Academy in Exile was founded on 13 June 2022 by the University of Cologne and the University of Bonn. Its aim is to support renowned researchers who have had to flee due to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. In addition to researchers from Ukraine, this can also include researchers from Russia and Belarus who are being persecuted for their opposition to the war. You can find more information at

Foundation of the "Cologne Center for Advanced Studies in International History and Law" (CHL) at the University of Cologne

The team of the Academy for European Human Rights Protection is pleased to announce the foundation of the "Cologne Center for Advanced Studies in International History and Law" (CHL) at the University of Cologne. With the announcement of the rules of procedure of 13 September 2023, the CHL now takes up its business as a central academic institution (ZWE) of the University of Cologne in accordance with § 29(1)(2) HG NRW.

The CHL serves as an institutional umbrella for the already existing close cooperation between Prof.' Dr. Dr. h.c. Dr. h.c. Angelika Nußberger (Academy for European Human Rights Protection), Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Dr. h.c. Claus Kreß (Institute for International Peace and Security Law) and Prof. Dr Fabian Klose (Chair of International History and Historical Peace and Conflict Research).

In the CHL, the cooperation between international law and history at the University of Cologne is further strengthened and specifically expanded through interdisciplinary networking in order to enable dynamic growth and development.

On the basis of a grant from the Landecker Foundation, it is planned to establish a Hans Kelsen Visiting Professorship for the History and Theory of International Law, which will be staffed by top-class academics from abroad and will be linked to the Centre via the Institute for International Peace and Security Law.

In addition, a college with the name 'Colleg Konrad Adenauer' is to be integrated into the Centre. The college will function as a central place for international academic exchange and knowledge transfer at the interface of international law and international history.

The aim is to have an impact beyond university boundaries and into broader social discourses. To promote this purpose and to strengthen its external impact, the Centre is managed as a central academic institution at the University of Cologne.

We look forward to expanding this enriching cooperation and to actively supporting the development of the Centre!

Klausuren zur Abschlussklausur Grundrechte (SS 2023) können abgeholt werden

Die Korrektur der Abschlussklausuren zur Volesung „Grundrechte" aus dem Sommersemester 2023 ist abgeschlossen.

Die Klausuren liegen im Sekretariat zur Abholung bereit und können zu den Öffnungszeiten abgeholt werden. Die Ergebnisse sind Ihnen bereits via KLIPS bekanntgegeben worden.

Prof. Dr, Angelika Nußberger elected as associate member of the "Institut de Droit International" (IIL)

Prof. Dr. Angelika Nußberger, Director of the Academy for European Human Rights Protection and the Institute for Eastern European and Comparative Law at the University of Cologne, was elected as an associate member of the Institute of International Law (IIL) at its 81st session (27 August to 2 September 2023). 

The Institute of International Law was founded on 8 September 1873 by eleven renowned international lawyers in the City Hall of Ghent in Belgium. The Institute sees itself as a learned society whose aim is to promote the progress of international law. In recognition of its commitment to arbitration as a peaceful means of settling disputes between states, the Institute was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Membership of the Institute is open to only 132 members at a time. 

We warmly congratulate our Director on this honour and wish her all the best for her new duties!

Klausuren aus dem Schwerpunkt zur Einsicht bereit

Die Klausuren aus dem Schwerpunkt zur Vorlesung Völkerrecht I des Sommersemesters 2023 liegen ab jetzt zur Einsicht bereit.

Sie können gerne jederzeit zu den Öffnungszeiten der Akademie zu diesem Zweck vorbeikommen.

Review: Justice, Literature and Remembrance

1 / 5

An evening with Bernhard Schlink and Philippe Sands, moderated by Géraldine Schwarz 

The reading room of the Academy for European Human Rights Protection at the University of Cologne is filled to capacity last Wednesday, 5 July 2023, when Philippe Sands and Bernhard Schlink did the honours to talk about justice, literature and memory. Both are writers. Both have published bestsellers. Both have achieved international renown through, among other things, film adaptations and translations of their works. And, what gave this evening its form: both are lawyers!

Philippe Sands, an expert in international law, stood as a lawyer before international courts such as the one in The Hague, the European Court of Human Rights or the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

Bernhard Schlink was a professor of public law, social law and legal philosophy at various universities in Germany and the USA. In addition, he held a judgeship at the Constitutional Court for the State of North Rhine-Westphalia in Münster for almost 20 years.

Jura meets author 

In addition to the two authors, the German-French journalist Géraldine Schwarz could be won for the evening. In her own literary and cinematic work, including "Les Amnèsiques/Die Gedächtnislosen" ("The Memoryless"), Schwarz turns to the often painful - and often neglected - coming to terms with the past and pleads for a rethink in the work of remembering. As the moderator of the evening, Géraldine Schwarz impresses in this role and presents herself as a challenging discussion partner. Schwarz leads through the evening for more than two hours and offers the audience plenty of space for questions and an open discussion.

The first topic is the tension between court proceedings and justice on the one hand and memory and reparation on the other. To what extent can a guilty verdict erase experienced suffering and trauma or atone for guilt?

Bernhard Schlink dedicated his world bestseller "The Reader" to Germany's guilt over its past: the author says that the failure to come to terms with the crimes of National Socialism, the Holocaust and the perpetrators as the "second guilt" of the people after 1945 "preoccupied his entire generation".

People and nations share secrets, things that are not talked about, says Sands. He himself is attracted by the gap that arises when people or nations avoid coming to terms with reality. His research "The Rat Line" is symbolic of this gap.

"Who do we get to talk about justice?" (Sands)

Later, the discussion focused on the limits and potentials of literature and legal processes in coming to terms with the past - for example, in dealing with the aftermath of crimes, dictatorships or conflicts. What was exciting here was the view of two lawyers who write - how do they assess their own possibilities of influence through their literary work? Both agreed that literature can make a great contribution to coming to terms with the past. Stories, documentaries and the description of individual fates open doors because they would provide neutral space for different perspectives.

And speaking from the perspective of the recipients: Courts interpret right and wrong, give instructions for action for civil coexistence. Books pleasantly provide space for what was, what would be, what could be - without having to judge.

According to Schlink, the law supports both remembering and forgetting. Both can be traumatic. Therefore, it is important to ask ourselves: What can law achieve? How do we want to remember past injustice?

In the process of reparation, court cases have a decisive role, Sands continues. And since more people read novels than court judgments, it is important to reflect on how literature and jurisprudence can be combined: "What is the relationship between a trial and a novel?"

Sands, born in London to a Jewish immigrant family, followed in the footsteps of his ancestors for his work "East West Street" (2016) and connected it with the story of two jurists who had a decisive influence on modern international law. In contrast to non-fictional texts, fiction has the possibility to make the past accessible to readers through personal connections and to be a door opener for complex jurisprudence, said Sands. He was chairman of English PEN from 2018 to 2023 and this also underlines his attitude: it is important to write about justice! Trials are only one aspect of this. However, the imperative of truthfulness applies, and authors must not ignore historical sources, adds Bernhard Schlink.

Géraldine Schwarz skilfully links the biographies of the authors, especially their legal careers, with their oeuvre. Even though it is not an evening of reading, the audience gains insights into their current prose work.  

In his research "The Rat Line", Philippe Sands sketches the escape of an SS officer before his conviction. The source material was private letters and diaries of the Wächter family as well as conversations Sands had with Otto Wächter's son.

The story "The Granddaughter" by Bernhard Schlink also deals with the motives and personal consequences of an escape - albeit under different auspices: 

Birgit flees to West Germany for love and sacrifices a life with her daughter. Here, too, it is a matter of historical research, the narrative bridges reach into the present and again the protagonists struggle with different world views.

After the discussion on the blue sofa in the packed historical reading room, there are numerous requests to speak from the - in part international - audience.

The discussion took place in English and German. The event was planned and carried out as a cooperation between the Stiftung Forum Recht and the Academy for European Human Rights Protection at the University of Cologne.

We would like to thank the team of the Stiftung Forum Recht for the extremely professional and good cooperation!

(Report: Stiftung Forum Recht)