United Nations Legal Expert to Receive State Bar Association's International Law Award
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January 25, 2006
ALBANY—Nicolas Michel of Switzerland, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel, will receive the annual Award for Distinction in International Law and Affairs from the International Law and Practice Section of the New York State Bar Association in January.
Michel, the author of numerous books and articles on international and European law, previously served as legal adviser of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the director of its International Law Directorate. In that capacity, Michel was the head of the Swiss delegation for international conferences, including the Preparatory Commission for the International Criminal Court and the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute. He also was the head of the Swiss delegation for the presentation of national reports before international committees.
“With the many difficult issues facing our world and the United Nations, including genocide, terrorism and corruption, Mr. Michel’s efforts to support resolutions to address these problems and his respect for the rule of law make him immensely deserving of this award,” said Robert J. Leo of Manhattan (Meeks & Sheppard), chair of the International Law and Practice Section.
Michel obtained his Master of Arts in International Relations from Georgetown University and earned degrees in law from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.
Michel has been chair of the Committee of the Legal Advisors on Public International Law of the Council of Europe. He has been chair of several international committees and meetings, including the March 2004 chair of the Workshop on Article 51 of the United Nations Charter in Light of Future Threats to International Peace and Security in Geneva, and has been an integral member of the U.N.’s High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change. In 2003, he served inter alia as the chair of the
Drafting Committee of the International Conference on “The Missing” in Geneva, and in 2000 on the Consultation and Preparatory Meeting on a Third Protocol to the Geneva Conventions (Emblems).
From 1987 to 1998, Michel was Professor of International Law and European Law at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. He also was vice dean of the law faculty and member of the Board of the European Law Faculties Association. Earlier in his career, Michel served as the Secretary-General of the Department of Education and Culture of the canton of Fribourg, Switzerland.
Previous recipients of the award include: Lech Walesa, former president of Poland; Carlos Salinas de Gortari, former president of Mexico; Cyrus R. Vance, former U.S. secretary of state; Boutros-Boutros Ghali, former U.N. secretary general; Arthur C. Helton, director of Peace and Conflict Studies and senior fellow for Refugee Studies and Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations; and Alice H. Henkin, director, justice and society program, The Aspen Institute.
The award will be presented at the International Law and Practice Section’s annual meeting January 25 at the New York Marriott Marquis hotel in Manhattan.
The International Law and Practice Section is one of 23 sections of the NYSBA. The 2,000-member section publishes the “New York Law Review,” the “International Law Practicum” and the “Section Chapter Newsletter.” The Section also sponsors conferences in the U.S. and abroad, seminars and works with other sections, associations, institutes and U.S. government negotiators on issues affecting section members and their clients.
Each of the Association sections contributes to policy-making, both in their subject areas and Association-wide.
They originate many of the recommendations that become NYSBA policy positions and act as checks and balances of other entities.
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