Hans Corell

Interview conducted 11 March 2015 in Waltham, Massachusetts, by David P. Briand and Leigh Swigart.

ambassador hans Corell speaking at tableBackground

  • Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and Legal Counsel of the United Nations, 1994-2004.

Interview Content

In this interview, Ambassador Hans Corell reminisces about his early law career in Sweden; international law cases brought against the government of Sweden; experiences in the Balkans as war crimes rapporteur for the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE); negotiations with Rwandan leaders to cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda; drafting of the CSCE proposal for the establishment of a tribunal for Yugoslavia; negotiations in establishment of the tribunals for Cambodia and Sierra Leone; experiences in Italy during the adoption of the Rome Statute and the creation of the International Criminal Court.

He discusses the reaction to the breakup of Yugoslavia and subsequent conflict; the Ad Hoc Tribunals as a major step towards accountability and an end to impunity; and the importance of avoiding internal or international conflict by working for democracy and the rule of law.

read full transcript of interview

Biographical Information

Hans Corell served as under-secretary-general for legal affairs and legal counsel of the United Nations from March 1994 to March 2004. In this capacity, he oversaw the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, as well as the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.

In 1998, Corell was the U.N. secretary-general's representative at the Rome Conference on the International Criminal Court. Before joining the United Nations, he was ambassador and under-secretary for legal and consular affairs in his native Sweden's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Since his retirement from public service in 2004, Corell has been engaged in many different activities in the legal field, inter alia as legal adviser, lecturer and member of different boards. Among other activities, he is involved in the work of the International Bar Association and the Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law. He was chairman of the board of trustees of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at the University of Lund from 2006-2012. He is the author of many publications.