Press Releases

                                                                                                                            19 May 2004

    Biographical Note

    Secretary-General Appoints Nicolas Michel of Switzerland as New Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and UN Legal Counsel

    NEW YORK, 18 May (UN Headquarters) -- The Secretary-General today announced the appointment of Nicolas Michel of Switzerland as the new Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel.

    Nicolas Michel has been serving since 1998 as the Legal Adviser of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. From 1998 to 2003, Mr. Michel also acted as the Director of the International Law Directorate in the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.  In this capacity, he was the head of the Swiss delegation in international conferences, including the Preparatory Commission for the International Criminal Court and the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute.  He also acted as the head of the Swiss delegation for the presentation of national reports before international committees (racial discrimination, rights of the child, minorities).

    Mr. Michel is currently Chairman of the Committee of the Legal Advisors on Public International Law of the Council of Europe (CAHDI).  He also served as the Chairman of several other international committees and meetings, most recently in March 2004 as the Chairman of the Workshop on Article 51 of the United Nations Charter in Light of Future Threats to International Peace and Security in Geneva, a contribution to the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, established last year by the United Nations Secretary-General. Previously, he served, inter alia, as the Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the International Conference on “The Missing” in Geneva in 2003 and the Consultation and Preparatory Meeting on a Third Protocol to the Geneva Conventions (Emblems) in 2000.

    Prior to joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Michel was Professor of International Law and European Law at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland (1987-1998). He resumed this position in 2003.  He is currently Vice Dean of the Law Faculty and member of the Board of the European Law Faculties Association.

    Earlier in his career, Mr. Michel served as the Secretary-General of the Department of Education and Culture of the canton of Fribourg, Switzerland (1980-1985).

    Mr. Michel holds degrees in law (such as “licence”, PhD, “Privat Docent”) from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, as well as a Master of Arts (International Relations) from Georgetown University, Washington D.C.  He is the author of numerous books and articles on international and European law.  He is also a licensed attorney at law.

    Born on 7 November 1949, Mr. Michel is married with children.

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