About me

Alfred de ZayasAlfred M. de Zayas studied history and law at Harvard, where he obtained his J.D. He practiced corporate law with the New York law firm Simpson Thacher and Bartlett and is a retired member of the New York and Florida Bar. He obtained a doctorate in history from the University of Göttingen in Germany.

Mr. de Zayas has been visiting professor of law at numerous universities including the University of British Columbia in Canada, the Graduate Institute of the University of Geneva, and the University of Trier (Germany). At present he teaches international law at the Geneva School of Diplomacy.

DSCN0622In 2009 de Zayas was a member of the UN workshop that drafted a report on the human right to peace, which was subsequently discussed and further elaborated by the Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Council. He is also a signatory of the Declaración de Bilbao and Declaración de Santiago de Compostela on the Human Right to Peace. He served as a consultant to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the issue of mercenaries. De Zayas is an expert for civil and political rights and has published nine books on a variety of legal and historical issues, including “United Nations Human Rights Committee Case Law” (together with Jakob th. Möller, N.P. Engel 2009), and has been co-author and co-editor of numerous other books, including “International Human Rights Monitoring Mechanisms” (together with Gudmundur Alfredsson and Bertrand Ramcharan). His scholarly articles in the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Oxford Encyclopedia of Human Rights and Macmillan Encyclopedia of Genocide, encompass the prohibition of aggression, universal jurisdiction, the right to the homeland, mass population transfers, minority rights, refugee law, repatriation, legal aspects of the Spanish Civil War, indefinite detention, Guantanamo and the right to peace. He is fluent in six languages and has published a book of Rilke translations with commentary (“Larenopfer”, Red Hen Press 2008) and is now completing the translation of Hermann Hesse’s “Das Lied des Lebens”.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 13.08.16From 2002-2006 he was Secretary-General, from 2006-2010 President of PEN International, Centre Suisse romand. He is member of several advisory boards, including of the International Society of Human Rights (Frankfurt a.M.), Zentrum gegen Vertreibungen (Berlin), the International Human Rights Association of American Minorities (Canada) and of the conseil scientifique of the Académie International de droit constitutionnel (Tunis).

He has received several awards, most recently the “Educators Award 2011” of Canadians for Genocide Education.

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19 thoughts on “About me”

  1. Richard Huang said:

    Dear Prof. de Zayas, Muy buena! I am Richard Huang from Taipei Delegation. Could you please respond to my email? Thank you. Gracias. Merci. Xiexie. Arigato.

    Liked by 1 person

    • DEAR RICHARD — I CANNOT FIND YOUR EMAIL. MAYBE YOU GOT SPAMMED. PLEASE RESEND.

      Like

      • dear prof de zayas, i wish to ask an opinion on the kashmiri pandit genocide..i have just began to study the Armenian genocide and find a lot of similarities between the two…i wanted to understand a few things and hence wished to write an email..can you pls share your’s…

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  2. Dear Mr Zayas,

    I am sorry for disrupting your blog but I was wondering whether a new edition of your co-authored book “United Nations Human Rights Committee Case Law 1977 – 2008 A Handbook” will be released, and if so, when?

    Thank you!

    Like

  3. Dear prof. de Zayas,
    I would like to get in touch with you regarding my IL master’s thesis concerning the ‘legal classification of the post-WWII attrocities committed against ethnic germans and people of german ancestry. I have read all your books about this particular subject and I have a few questions regarding the sources you have used.
    I would appreciate it immensely if you would be willing to help me.
    Thank you,
    Nikki Ancher

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  4. Dear Alfred,

    I have taken the freedom to re-use an image of yours, in an article embedding your statement against ISDS on the UN Human Rights Council in TPP Debate, a website just launched in Malaysia to allow the public to express their opinion on the TPP:

    http://tppdebate.org/en/links/on-isds-statement-of-mr-alfred-maurice-de-zayas-independent-expert-on-the-promotion-of-a-democratic-and-equitable-international-order-at-the-human-rights-council-30th-session/

    If this is not right, please let me know and I’ll remove the image.

    Thanks,
    Leonardo Losoviz

    Like

    • Dear Leonardo,

      Thanks for using information from my blog on your website. To answer your kind request, I would recommend adding a short sentence pointing out the image belongs to the UN. Therefore, you should add: “photo credit: UN” in your post.

      Kind regards,
      Alfred

      Like

      • Dear Alfred,

        thanks for your generosity. I have added the credit, as requested.

        Btw, this website will hopefully bring awareness of ISDS to Malaysians, who are on the brink of signing into the TPP. I have seen your statement has been quoted by some organizations to warn about the dangers of ISDS, such as the Third World Network in this article:

        http://tppdebate.org/en/articles/investment-and-isds-in-the-tpp/

        I will continue linking this information together. If TPP were of any concern to you, please do share the TPP Debate website with your colleagues (academicians, intellectuals, etc), they might want to contribute their own research on the matter. Even though the website is focused on Malaysia, this issue is of current concern to all 12 countries and I’m inviting stakeholders from all countries to contribute.

        Hopefully members of parliament in each country will pay attention when a proper reasoning is put forward, and not sign just from political pressure (even though I certainly doubt it, however I don’t lose my hope).

        Best regards,
        Leonardo Losoviz

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Can I please speak to you about the Armenian genocide? Me and some other people have started a special project about this topic. Greetings.

    Like

  6. Mitchell Owens said:

    Trying to reach Rodrigo de Zayas, for a book about his distant cousin Pauline de Rothschild.

    Like

  7. Please be invited to discuss with us on the topic of Peoples without a State:

    http://www.icpsnet.com

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  8. Dear Prof. Alfred,

    He leído sus relevantes aportes, reflexiones y posturas en relación a los impactos de los Tratados de Comercio sobre los Derechos Humanos. Me gustaria consultarle especificamente en relación a los posibles impactos del TISA sobre el derecho a la educación.

    Cordiales saludos,
    Maria

    Like

  9. Dear Professor De Zayas,

    In 2000 I had a pleasure to meet you at the conference on Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe, held at Dusquesne University in Pittsburgh NJ, US. Because of the organizers’ foibles we were placed in a single room and had to share the same king-size bed. I hope I did not snore too much. At that conference I presented a paper on the 1944-45 ethnic cleansing of Germans and Silesians in Upper Silesia.

    At present I work as reader of modern central Europe in the School of History at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, UK (see: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/history/staff/tomaszkamusella.html ; tomek672@gmail.com).

    I am writing because after half a decade in works, I finished a monograph on the unduly forgotten 1989 expulsion of Bulgarian Turks. I claim that without remembering about this ethnic cleansing it is impossible to explain the dynamics and timing of the fall of communism in Bulgaria, alongside the nature of the subsequent process of systemic transition to democracy and market economy in this country. What is more, on the plane of international relations, I claim that this unprecedented (after 1950 in postwar Europe) event is the explanation why prospective ethnic cleansers in Yugoslavia thought – quite reasonably – that they could proceed with mass expulsions and genocide-scale massacres with impunity. Neither the East nor the West reacted when Communist Bulgaria’s leader, Todor Zhivkov, ordered the expulsion of 360,000 Bulgarian Turks in the summer of 1989. Zhivkov was never indicted let alone punished for this crime against humanity. Other indictments against him on lesser charges had been dropped quietly by 1995.

    I wonder, whether drawing on your decades-long research on ethnic cleansing and expulsions, you could consider writing a preface to my forthcoming monograph.

    In order to let you decide, below I enclose the book’s abstract and table of contents. Should you like it, I could also forward you with the manuscript.

    Yours truly,

    Tomasz Kamusella

    The Forgotten 1989 Ethnic Cleansing of Bulgaria’s Turks

    Tomasz Kamusella

    University of St Andrews

    Abstract

    In the summer of 1989, the Bulgarian communist regime seeking to prop up its rapidly waning legitimacy played the ethnonational card by expelling 360,000 Turks and Muslims across the Iron Curtain to Turkey. It was the single largest ethnic cleansing during the Cold War period in Europe after the wrapping up the postwar ‘transfers’ (that is, expulsions as approved at the Potsdam Conference) of ethnic Germans from Central Europe by the turn of the 1950s. Furthermore, this expulsion of Turks and Muslims from Bulgaria was the sole ethnic cleansing that breached the Iron Curtain. The 1989 ethnic cleansing (ironically known as the ‘Big Excursion’), after the collapse of the Bulgarian communist regime in late 1989, was followed by an unprecedented return of almost half of the expellees to Bulgaria. The return, which partially reversed the effects of this ethnic cleansing, was the first-ever of its kind. Despite the unprecedented character of this 1989 expulsion and the subsequent return, not a single research article, let alone a monograph, has been devoted to these events. This study aspires to start filling in the lacuna through giving an overview of the ethnic cleansing and the return through the lens of the international Anglophone press, but also with the use of Bulgarian, German, Polish, Turkish and Yugoslav (that is, Croatian, Serbian and Slovenian) newspapers. Besides calling for a wide international probe into this ethnic cleansing, I conclude by offering a reflection on how this tragic event shaped today’s Bulgaria, and how the persisting attempts to suppress the remembrance of the 1989 expulsion sharply divide Bulgarian society nowadays. The yet unhealed conflict also brushes off negatively onto the country’s relations with Turkey and the European Union.

    Keywords: 1989, Bulgaria, ‘Big Excursion,’ conflict resolution, ethnic cleansing, expulsion of Turks and Muslims from Bulgaria to Turkey, lieu de mémoire, peace studies, right to homeland, Turkey

    Table of Contents

    Introduction

    On Forgetfulness and Its Perils

    The State of Research on the 1989 Expulsion

    The 1989 Ethnic Cleansing Through the Lens of the International Press

    The Ethnic Cleansing’s Aftermath and the Regime Change
    The Official Coming to Terms with the 1989 Ethnic Cleansing

    Between Language and Millet
    The Question of Responsibility

    Conclusion

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hello Professor De Zayas, Sir

    do you allow to ask about Völkerrecht ?
    Möglichst in deutscher Sprache.

    Thanks a lot
    Gisberth
    gisberth@uni.de

    Like

  11. Bonsoir Monsieur de Zayas,

    Vous organisez une soirée de lecture pour Madame Suzan Samanci au début de l’année 2017. Si vous avez besoin d’un coup de main, je suis là.

    Meilleures salutations,

    Bernard Antoine Rouffaer
    Orbis Terrae

    Like

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