Nils Melzer

Nils Melzer

Swiss Human Rights Chair at the Geneva Academy

Areas of expertise

International Humanitarian Law  /  International Human Rights Law  /  Armed Non-State Actors  /  Counter-terrorism  /  Weapons Law  /  Use of Force  /  Prohibition of Torture and Inhumane Treatment

Nils Melzer has been Swiss Human Rights Chair at the Geneva Academy since March 2016. He is also Professor in International Law at the University of Glasgow and a member of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law in San Remo. On 30 September 2016, the United Nations Human Rights Council appointed him UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment.

Throughout his career, Dr Melzer has specialized in legal questions arising in relation to the use of force in military, police, and counter-terrorism operations, the regulation of private military and security companies, and the use of cyber operations and other new weapons technologies. He has authored numerous works on these issues.

Prior to his current position, Dr Melzer served as Senior Adviser to the Security Policy Division of the Political Directorate at the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs; Senior Fellow at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP); Research Director of the Competence Centre for Human Rights at the University of Zürich; Lecturer and Swiss Chair of International Humanitarian Law at the Geneva Academy and as Delegate, Legal Adviser and Deputy Head of Delegation at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

He was also a member of the Transitional Steering Committee for the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers, as well as the expert group for the drafting of the Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare sponsored by NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence.

Dr Melzer holds a PhD in Law (summa cum laude) from the University of Zürich.

Taught Courses

Descriptive: Somalia, Baidoa, central prison LLM - Course

Use of Force and Counter-Terrorism

This course examines in depth the international legal standards governing the use of force in police, military and counter-terrorism operations.

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Colombia, Valle del Cauca Department, Cali, Villa Hermosa prison. View of the prison through the wire fence. LLM - Course

The Prohibition of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

This course examines in depth the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under international humanitarian law and human rights law.

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Publications

Cover of International Humanitarian Law – a Comprehensive Introduction

International Humanitarian Law – a Comprehensive Introduction

September 2016

Nils Melzer

International Committee of the Red Cross

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Cover of Targeted Killing in International Law

Targeted Killing in International Law

May 2008

Nils Melzer

Oxford University Press

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Cover of Interpretive Guidance on the Notion of Direct Participation in Hostilities

Interpretive Guidance on the Notion of Direct Participation in Hostilities

May 2009

Nils Melzer

International Committee of the Red Cross

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Cover of Human Rights Implications of the Usage of Drones and unmanned Robots in Warfare

Human Rights Implications of the Usage of Drones and unmanned Robots in Warfare

May 2013

Nils Melzer

European Parliament Study

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