Nils Melzer

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Condemnation for UK, US, Sweden & Ecuador

Nils Melzer is Professor of International Law at the University of Glasgow, and also holds the Human Rights Chair at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in Switzerland, where he has been teaching since 2009, including as the Swiss Chair of International Humanitarian Law (2011–2013).

Since 1 November 2016, Professor Nils Melzer has been serving as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

On 31 May 2019, Professor Melzer condemned the "collective persecution" of Julian Assange:

“In the course of the past nine years, Mr Assange has been exposed to persistent, progressively severe abuse ranging from systematic judicial persecution and arbitrary confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy, to his oppressive isolation, harassment and surveillance inside the embassy, and from deliberate collective ridicule, insults and humiliation, to open instigation of violence and even repeated calls for his assassination.
“In 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution I have never seen a group of democratic States ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law. The collective persecution of Julian Assange must end here and now!”[1]

Red Cross

UK/US persecuting Julian Assange

Nils Melzer has previously served for 12 years with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as Delegate, Deputy Head of Delegation and Legal Adviser in various zones of conflict and violence.

Academic positions

After leaving the ICRC, Nils Melzer held academic positions as Research Director of the Swiss Competence Centre on Human Rights (University of Zürich), as Senior Fellow and Senior Advisor on Emerging Security Challenges (Geneva Centre for Security Policy). He has also served as Senior Adviser for Security Policy at the Political Directorate of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

Education and career

Nils Melzer graduated summa cum laude from the University of Zürich with a PhD degree in law.[2][3]

Published works

Selected publications

  • “Targeted Killing in International Law”[4] (Oxford University Press, 2008).
  • “Interpretive Guidance on the Notion of Direct Participation in Hostilities under International Humanitarian Law” (Geneva: ICRC, 2009).
  • "Cyberwarfare and International Law" (Geneva: UNIDIR, 2011)
  • With Hans-Peter Gasser: "Humanitäres Völkerrecht – Eine Einführung", 2nd ed. (Zürich: Schulthess, 2012).
  • With Michael N. Schmitt (ed.) et al., “Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare” (Cambridge: University Press, 2013).
  • “International Humanitarian Law - a Comprehensive Introduction” (Geneva: ICRC, 2016).


  1. "UN expert says 'collective persecution' of Julian Assange must end now"
  2. "Dr Nils Melzer". Speakers' Biographies. ACO - Allied Command Operations, NATO / OTAN. 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-22.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  3. "Introduction, Dr. Nils Melzer, Legal Adviser for the International Committee of the Red Cross, 'Targeted Killing in International Law'". The Graduate Institute. 16 October 2008. Retrieved 2010-10-22.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
  4. Melzer, Nils (2008). "Targeted Killing in International Law". Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199533169. Retrieved 14 July 2018.Page Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css must have content model "Sanitized CSS" for TemplateStyles (current model is "plain text").
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