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Overview

Professor Michael Bohlander

Chair in Global Law and SETI Policy

A. jur. | Dr. jur. | Richter am Landgericht a.D. | SFHEA | FRSA | International Judge (ECCC)


Affiliations
AffiliationRoom numberTelephone
Chair in Global Law and SETI Policy in Durham Law SchoolPCL185+44 (0) 191 33 40476
Member of the Human Rights Centre  

Biography

PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE

Professor Bohlander holds high judicial office as the International Co-Investigating Judge in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), having been on leave from Durham and serving as a full-time judge at the Court in Phnom Penh from 2015 - 2019, during which period he oversaw - together with his Cambodian colleague - the completion of all remaining investigations into members of the Khmer Rouge Regime. In April 2020 he was re-instated in the post by the United Nations Secretary-General to deal with unexpected residual litigation in those cases. He was also on the roster of international judges at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC) in The Hague, from 2017 until his resignation in 2022.

Prior to joining Durham University in 2004, he had been a judge for 13 years on civil and criminal pre-trial, trial and appellate dockets in the courts of the East German Free State of Thuringia, including the State Supreme Court at Jena. From 1999 until 2001, he was on leave from the Thuringian judiciary and served as the senior legal officer of a Trial Chamber at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague.

He gained first-hand experience in the law and practice of other national jurisdictions: From 1989 to 1990 as a barrister’s pupil in Exeter, and in 1996 a judicial visitor at a Juzgado de Primera Instancia e Instrucción in Spain, both mainly in criminal matters.

He has broad practical experience in matters of transitional justice and institution building in several legal systems. As a criminal and civil judge from the early days of post-unification East Germany, he dealt with regime crime, the cassation of politically motivated convictions by the courts of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR), the rehabilitation of persons convicted for political reasons, and the restitution of property confiscated by the GDR regime to the rightful owners. He helped train the judges of the Iraqi High Tribunal which tried Saddam Hussein, as well as other Iraqi judges and prosecutors. He has been active in judicial training and advising governments since 2001 (Cambodia, Egypt, Georgia, Kosovo, Kurdistan/Iraq, Tunisia), among others at the request of the International Bar Association, the OSCE, the United Nations, the Kurdistan Regional Government, the Cambodian Court of Appeal and the German Foundation for International Legal Cooperation. As a member of that Foundation he initiated the establishment of training and institutional support links with the Court of Appeal and the Ministry of Justice of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

SCHOLARSHIP

Professor Bohlander's research has spanned German law, English and Welsh criminal law, comparative and international criminal law, the judiciary and the legal profession, Islamic law, and SETI.

His current main focus is on the relationship between the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) and human law in the wider sense, including legal and response protocol issues following signal detection. He focusses especially on the implications of the possibility of hostile first contact for the laws of armed conflict and the ensuing re-conceptualisation of the planetary defence framework, as well as the question of which global values humanity would be willing to trade for access to advanced technology from an ETI or interstellar civilisation network ("Galactic Club"). In February 2022, he was appointed to the scientific advisory council of the Interdisciplinary Research Center for Extraterrestrial Studies in the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science of Würzburg University (Germany). He is a member of the UK SETI Research Network, and of the International Institute of Space Law. 

His work on German criminal law in particular has made a significant contribution to providing access to this field of law for non-native speakers. His modern translation of the German Criminal Code was translated into Farsi and published in Iran in 2010, followed by the translation of his monograph "Principles of German Criminal Law" in 2011. 

He was instructed to act as an expert in German criminal law by the UK General Medical Council (2013) and by the Criminal Court of Appeal at Leeuwarden in the Netherlands (2011).

He has spoken at numerous conferences, seminars and training events in the UK and abroad, including in Armenia, Cambodia, Canada, China, Croatia, Egypt, Georgia, Germany, Iraq/Kurdistan, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United States (including the Military Academy at West Point), Tanzania (at the former International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha) and Tunisia.

He is the founding editor-in chief and since 2015 general editor of the International Criminal Law Review (Brill|Nijhoff), the general editor of Studies in International and Comparative Criminal Law (Hart|Bloomsbury), a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Criminal Law (SAGE) and the book series Studies in International Criminal Law (Brill|Nijhoff), as well as of a number of editorial advisory boards. Together with Alan Reed he edits the book series Substantive Issues in Criminal Law (Taylor & Francis).

From 2010 until 2014, he held the Visiting Chair in Criminal Law at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen in the Netherlands.

In 2012, he was the first non-Muslim visiting scholar ever to teach at the Faculty of Law of Al-Azhar University in Cairo. He has been an external assessor for professorial promotions at the University of Malaya’s Department of Syariah and Law since 2015.

POSTGRADUATE RESEARCH SUPERVISION

Professor Bohlander welcomes enquiries about postgraduate research supervision in his research areas.

Applicants should familiarise themselves closely with the relevant programme requirements before contacting him for potential supervision requests with a detailed exposé addressing all criteria described on the Law School's postgraduate research degree webpage.

JUDICIAL ETHICS NOTICE - MEDIA COMMENTS

Due to his judicial status at the ECCC, Professor Bohlander is not available for media comments related to cases and developments in or related to international criminal justice.

Research interests

  • Legal aspects of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI)
  • International and comparative criminal law - Theory, practice, political and socio-legal implications

Research groups

  • CCLCJ
  • Centre for Chinese Law and Policy
  • Centre for Criminal Law and Criminal Justice
  • Islam, Law and Modernity
  • Law and Global Justice at Durham

Publications

Authored book

  • Bohlander, Michael (2023). 德国刑事程序法原理 (Chinese Translation of Principles of German Criminal Procedure, 2nd edition, 2021). Peking University Press.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2021). Principles of German Criminal Procedure (2nd edition). Bloomsbury Professional/Hart.
  • Bohlander, Michael. (2012). Principles of German Criminal Procedure. Oxford Hart Publishing.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2011). مبانی حقوق کیفری آلمان (Farsi translation of Principles of German Criminal Law, 2009). MajdLaw Publishers.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2010). قانون مجازات آلمان (Farsi translation of The German Criminal Code - A Modern English Translation, 2008). MajdLaw Publishers.
  • Bohlander, Michael. (2009). Principles of German Criminal Law. Oxford: Hart Publishing.
  • Bohlander, Michael. (2008). The German Criminal Code: A Modern English Translation. Oxford/Portland, Oregon: Hart Publishing.
  • Bohlander, Michael. (2001). Gerichtliche Sanktionen gegen Anwälte wegen Mißbrauchs von Verfahrensrechten - Eine Studie zum institutionellen Rollenverständnis von Rechtsanwälten gegenüber den Gerichten. Shaker Verlag.
  • Bohlander, Michael (1999). Widerruf der Strafaussetzung bei Verstoß gegen Weisungen - Eine Untersuchung zum Bewährungswiderruf de lege lata et ferenda unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des amerikanischen, englischen und spanischen Rechts. Shaker Verlag.
  • Bohlander, Michael. & Latour, Christian. (1998). The German Judiciary in the Nineties - A Study of the Recruitment, Promotion and Remuneration of German Judges. Shaker Verlag.
  • Bohlander, Michael. (1992). Verteidigernotdienst im strafprozessualen Ermittlungsverfahren - Eine rechtsvergleichende Untersuchung zur Übertragbarkeit der britischen Duty Solicitor Schemes auf das deutsche Strafverfahren. Peter Lang.

Book review

  • Bohlander, Michael (2018). Book review of Comparative Criminal Law, written by Albin Eser. International Criminal Law Review 18(4): 735-738.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2009). Otto Triffterer (ed.), Commentary on the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, 2nd ed., 2008. International Criminal Law Review 855-857.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2009). Tahir Wasti, The Application of Islamic Criminal Law in Pakistan - Sharia in Practice, 2009. International Criminal Law Review 858-859.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2008). Christopher W. Mullins & Dawn L. Rothe, Blood, Power and Bedlam - Violations of International Criminal Law in Post-Colonial Africa, 2008. International Criminal Law Review 707-708.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2008). Karsten Gaede, Fairness als Teilhabe - Das Recht auf konkrete und wirksame Teilhabe durch Verteidigung gemäß Art. 6 EMRK, 2007. International Criminal Law Review 386.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2008). George P. Fletcher, The Grammar of Criminal Law, Volume One: Foundations, 2007. International Criminal Law Review 699-705.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2008). Boas/Bischoff/Reid, International Law Practitioner Library, Vol. I: Forms of Responsibility in International Criminal Law, 2007. International Criminal Law Review 710-711.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2008). Michael Schmitt/Jelena Pejic (eds.), International Law and Armed Conflict: Exploring the Faultlines, 2007. International Criminal Law Review 708-709.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2008). Frank Neubacher/Anne Klein (eds.), Vom Recht der Macht zur Macht des Rechts: Interdisziplinäre Beiträge zur Zukunft internationaler Strafgerichte, 2006. International Criminal Law Review 383-384.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2008). Geert-Jan A. Knoops, Defenses in Contemporary International Criminal Law, 2008. International Criminal Law Review 711-712.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2008). Cyril Laucci, The Annotated Digest of the International Criminal Court 2004 - 2006, 2007. International Criminal Law Review 710.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2008). Dawn Rothe & Christopher Mullins, Symbolic Gestures and the Generation of Global Social Control, 2006. International Criminal Law Review 384-385.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2008). Ndiva Kofele-Kale, The International Law of Responsibility for Economic Crimes - Holding State Officials Individually Liable for Acts of Fraudulent Enrichment, 2006. International Criminal Law Review 385.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2008). Peter J. Richards, Extraordinary Justice - Military Tribunals in Historical and International Context, 2007. International Criminal Law Review 706-707.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2008). Cyril Laucci, Digest of the Jurisprudence of the Special Court for Sierra Leone 2003 - 2005, 2007. International Criminal Law Review 385-386.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2008). Ruth A. Kok, Statutory Limitations in International Criminal Law, 2007. International Criminal Law Review 705-706.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2008). Vladimir Tochilovsky, Jurisprudence of the International Criminal Court and the European Court of Human Rights, Procedure and Evidence, 2008. International Criminal Law Review 709.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2008). Mashood Baderin, International Law and Islamic Law, 2008. International Criminal Law Review 711.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2008). Stefan van Heeck, Die Weiterentwicklung des formellen Völkerstrafrechts, 2006. International Criminal Law Review 386.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2008). Manuel Ladiges, Die Bekämpfung nicht-staatlicher Angreifer im Luftraum, 2007. International Criminal Law Review 708.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2007). Das amerikanische Strafverfahren als Element der Besatzungspolitik in Deutschland, 2005. International Criminal Law Review 549-550.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2007). Kreß/Broomhall/Lattanzi/Santori (eds.), The Rome Statute and Domestic Legal Orders, Vol. II, 2005. International Criminal Law Review 550.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2007). Van Baarda/Verweij (eds.), Military Ethics, The Dutch Approach: A Practical Guide, 2006. International Criminal Law Review 550-551.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2005). International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, Judicial Reports 2000, Parts 1 and 2, 2005. International Criminal Law Review 502.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2005). Esin Örücü, The Enigma of Comparative Law, Variations on a Theme for the Twenty-First Century, 2004. International Criminal Law Review 505-506.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2005). Rachel Kerr, The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, An Exercise in Law, Politics and Diplomacy, 2004. International Criminal Law Review 506-510.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2005). Rob Blekxtoon/Wouter van Ballegooij (eds.), Handbook on the European Arrest Warrant, 2005. International Criminal Law Review 502-503.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2005). Francis Pakes, Comparative Criminal Justice, 2004. International Criminal Law Review 503-504.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2005). Christine van den Wyngaert/Guy Stessens/Liesbeth Janssens (eds.) International Criminal Law, A Collection of International and European Instruments, 3rd revised edition, 2005. International Criminal Law Review 502.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2005). Mireille Delmas-Marty, Towards a Truly Common Law, Europe as a Laboratory for Legal Pluralism, 2002. International Criminal Law Review 504-505.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2005). Héctor Olásolo, Corte Penal Internacional, Dónde Investigar?, 2003. International Criminal Law Review 506.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2005). Jan Schlösser, Soziale Tatherrschaft, Ein Beitrag zur Frage der Täterschaft in organisatorischen Machtapparaten, 2004. International Criminal Law Review 503.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2004). M. Cherif Bassiouni (ed.), Post-Conflict Justice, 2002. International Criminal Law Review 123-124.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2004). Richard May & Marieke Wierda, International Criminal Evidence, 2002. International Criminal Law Review 120-121.
  • Bohlander, Michael. (2004). Review of Robert W. Bennett, Talking it Through - Puzzles of American Democracy. Swiss Political Science Review 125.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2004). Patricia Schneider, Internationale Gerichtsbarkeit als Instrument friedlicher Streitbeilegung, Von einer empirisch fundierten Theorie zu einem innovativen Konzept, 2003. International Criminal Law Review 124-125.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2004). ICTY, Judicial Reports 1997, vols 1 and 2, United Nations, 2004. International Criminal Law Review 549.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2004). Muhammad Abdel Haleem/Adel Omar Sherif/Kate Daniels (eds.), Criminal Justice in Islam, Judicial Procedure in the Shari’a, 2003. International Criminal Law Review 551-552.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2004). John R.W.D. Jones and Steven Powles, International Criminal Practice, 3rd edition, 2003. International Criminal Law Review 550.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2004). Jean Pradel, Droit pénal comparé, 2nd edition, 2002. International Criminal Law Review 130-131.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2004). Robert Esser, Auf dem Weg zu einem europäischen Strafverfahrensrecht, 2002. International Criminal Law Review 128-129.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2004). Rodney Dixon & Karim Khan, Archbold International Criminal Courts, Practice, Procedure & Evidence, 2003. International Criminal Law Review 121-123.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2004). Mireille Delmas-Marty & John R. Spencer (eds.), European Criminal Procedures, 2002. International Criminal Law Review 129-130.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2004). Peter J. van Koppen & Steven D. Penrod (eds.), Adversarial versus Inquisitorial Justice, Psychological Perspectives on Criminal Justice Systems, 2003. International Criminal Law Review 125-128.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2004). Gerd Hankel, Die Leipziger Prozesse, Deutsche Kriegsverbrechen und ihre strafrechtliche Verfolgung nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg, 2003. International Criminal Law Review 551.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2004). M. Cherif Bassiouni, Introduction to International Criminal Law, 2003. International Criminal Law Review 550.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2003). Neighbours in Law – Are Common Law and Civil Law Moving Closer Together?, Papers in honour of Barbara Huber on her 65th birthday, Albin Eser/Christiane Rabenstein (eds.), 2001. International Criminal Law Review 188-189.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2003). Towards an International Criminal Procedure, Christoph Safferling, 2001. International Criminal Law Review 183-187.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2003). Comparative Criminal Procedure, A Casebook Approach, Stephen C. Thaman, 2002. International Criminal Law Review 187-188.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2002). The International Criminal Court, Elements of Crimes and Rules of Procedure and Evidence, Roy S. Lee (ed.), 2001. International Criminal Law Review 419-420.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2002). The International Criminal Court and the Transformation of International Law – Justice for the New Millenium, Leila Nadya Sadat, 2002. International Criminal Law Review 417.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2002). European Criminal Law, Geert Corstens and Jean Pradel, 2002. International Criminal Law Review 416-417.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2002). Der Allgemeine Teil des Völkerstrafrechts, Ansätze einer Dogmatisierung, Kai Ambos, 2002. International Criminal Law Review 417-418.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2002). Annotated Leading Cases of International Criminal Tribunals, André Klip and Göran Sluiter (eds.), vols. I (ICTY 1993–1998), 1999, II (ICTR 1994–1999), 2001, and III (ICTY 1997–1999), 2001. International Criminal Law Review 414-415.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2002). International Criminal Law, Ilias Bantekas/Susan Nash and Mark Mackarel, 2001. International Criminal Law Review 410-411.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2002). International and National Prosecutions of Crimes Under International Law, Current Developments, Horst Fischer, Claus Kreß and Sascha Rolf Lüder (eds.), 2001. International Criminal Law Review 412-414.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2002). International Criminal Law, A Collection of International and European Instruments, Christine van den Wyngaert (ed.), 2nd ed., 2000. International Criminal Law Review 451.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2002). International Criminal Law, Kriangsak Kittichaisaree, 2001. International Criminal Law Review 418-419.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2002). ICTY Judicial Reports/TPIR Recueils Judiciaires 1996, vols. I and II, 2002. International Criminal Law Review 420.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2002). Craig M. Bradley, Criminal Procedure - A Worldwide Study, 1999. International Criminal Law Review 373-374.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2002). Basic Documents and Case Law 1995–2000, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, CD-ROM, United Nations, 2001. International Criminal Law Review 415-416.
  • Bohander, Michael (2002). International Criminal Law, Cases and Materials & Documents Supplement, Jordan J. Paust, M. Cherif Bassiouni, Michael Scharf, Jimmy Gurulé, Leila Sadat, Bruce Zagaris and Sharon A. Williams, 2000. International Criminal Law Review 411-412.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2002). Defenses in Contemporary International Criminal Law, Geert-Jan G.J. Knoops, 2001. International Criminal Law Review 419.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2002). The Global Community Yearbook of International Law and Jurisprudence 2001, 2001. International Criminal Law Review 420-421.
  • Bohlander, Michael (2001). Joint review of John E. Ackerman/Eugene O'Sullivan, Practice and Procedure of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, 2000, and John R.W.D. Jones, The Practice of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, 2000. International Criminal Law Review 173-176.

Chapter in book

Conference Paper

Edited book

Journal Article

Manual

Newspaper/Magazine Article

  • Bohlander, M. (2014). We must not hesitate to call the Islamic State’s crimes genocide. The conversation

Presentation

  • Bohlander, Michael (2004), The Transfer of Cases from International Criminal Tribunals to National Courts, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (official website), 40.

Translated Book

  • Bohlander, Michael. & Jung, Heike. (trans.) (1991). Translation of Andrew von Hirsch/Nils Jareborg, Strafmass und Strafgerechtigkeit . Forum Verlag, Bad Godesberg

Supervision students