Vienna, 26 November 2009 Press release

Karl Zemanek, the doyen of Austrian international law experts, has turned eighty

Vienna, 26 November 2009 – The doyen of Austria’s international law experts has turned 80. For more than half of his life, namely for 44 years, he was legal adviser to the Austrian Foreign Ministry.

To mark the occasion, Federal Minister Michael Spindelegger issued an invitation to dinner at the Foreign Ministry, which was attended by Karl Zemanek, who was celebrating his jubilee, the President of the International Court of Justice, Hishashi Owada, the German judge at the ICI, Bruno Simma, and further prominent Austrian and foreign international law experts.

The Secretary General of the Austrian Foreign Ministry, Ambassador Hans Kyrle, reminded the guests that Karl Zemanek had served as an adviser to twelve Austrian foreign ministers, starting with Bruno Kreisky in 1959. Among the nine heads of the International Law Office advised by Professor Zemanek was also Rudolf Kirchschläger, who later became Federal President. Kyrle stressed that during all those years Zemanek had been regarded as an authority, particularly with regard to the interpretation of Austria’s neutrality. He was a realist, Kyrle added, but in view of the horrors of the Nazi regime he had always remained committed to the values laid down in international law, such as justice, humanity, human dignity and the international rule of law. This topic was also the theme of a symposium attended by high-calibre international law experts and organised in Karl Zemanek’s honour on 27 November at the Diplomatic Academy.


Federal Ministry for
European and international Affairs
Press Department
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3262, 4549, 4550
Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213