Professor Dr. Otto Triffterer (1931-2015)


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Obituary of Professor Dr. Otto Triffterer, by Astrid Reisinger Coracini

We are deeply saddened to announce that Professor Dr. Otto Triffterer passed away on 1 June 2015.

Professor Triffterer’s distinguished academic career was deeply rooted in the field of international criminal law. Following studies at the University of Freiburg and at Harvard University, he defended his doctoral thesis on the doctrinal basis of substantive international criminal law since Nuremberg. At that time he also worked as research fellow for English and American criminal law, international law and human rights at the Max-Planck-Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law, Freiburg. He later held faculty positions at the Universities of Freiburg, Kiel, Bielefeld, and Giessen, and was appointed full Professor of Austrian and International Criminal Law and Procedure at the University of Salzburg in 1978, where he also served as Dean of the Law Faculty (1993-1999)

In his scholarly publications, Professor Triffterer never lost sight of developments at the international level. But he also contributed i.a. to the drafting of the 1971 Wingspread Draft of a Statute for an International Criminal Court, the People’s Republic of Bangladesh’s ‘War Crimes Tribunal Order 1972’, the 1995/96 Siracusa Drafts for an International Criminal Court, and in 1998 he attended the Rome Conference for the Establishment of an International Criminal Court as an individual expert.

After his official retirement in 1999, Professor Triffterer dedicated his full academic attention to international criminal law, a field he has profoundly shaped, developed and clarified. Two projects proofed particularly significant. His Commentary on the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the Salzburg Law School on International Criminal Law, Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law.

Professor Triffterer established the Salzburg Law School on International Criminal Law, Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law to promote understanding and encourage critical discourse on international criminal law and its enforcement mechanisms. Hundreds of participants from all around the world got to know him as an outstanding scholar and charismatic teacher. He was doctrinally sound and persuasive in his arguments; a true visionary and architect of international criminal law with the ability to encourage and motivate.

Professor Triffterer’s considerate and influential voice will be missed greatly. But his legacy will be carried on through his teaching and academic writing. Those who had the privilege of working closely with him mourn an exceptional person with high professional and moral standards, strength of character, and a kind humour.

Our condolences go to his family, especially his wife Maria and his two sons, Tobias and Daniel.

Astrid Reisinger Coracini

4 Responses to “Professor Dr. Otto Triffterer (1931-2015)”

  1. Ambassador Waliur Rahman

    I am Ambassador Waliur Rahman, Former Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh, Former Special Envoy to Prime Minister of Bangladesh – Sheikh Hasina, Adviser to the International Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh and Chairman – Bangladesh Heritage Foundation, National Security & Counter Terrorism.
    I was colleague of Professor Otto Trieffterer.When I learn about the sad demise of my friend Professor Otto Trieffterer it was a great shock to me.He wasn’t only my colleague but also a good friend. His name will be remembered by the every Bangladeshi citizen. I had the privilege of working with him and his colleague Professor Jescheck at the Max Planck Institute of International Law, Feriburg in 1972 while drafting and fine tuning of the International Crimes Tribunal Act 1973 for the war criminals of Bangladesh, who committed crimes against humanity in the 1971 war of liberation in Bangladesh. I spoke to him about 7 years ago and informed him that we are going to hold the trial of the war criminals. Following the law the war criminals are now being trialed in Bangladesh and a number of criminals have already been convicted.

    As a colleague we have arranged a remembrance meeting on his death in my institute Bangladesh Heritage Foundation on July 4th, Saturday, 11 AM in Dhaka. Prosecutors and Investigators of the International Crimes Tribunal and many distinguished persons attended this meeting. Every one expressed condolence his death with gravity. The Hon’ble Minister of the Ministry of Lliberation War Affairs AKM Mozammel Haque has expressed his heartiest gratitude to him for drafting and fine tuning the International Crimes Tribunal Act 1973 and also said the nation will never forget him. Zead al Malum who is prosecutor of International Crimes Tribunal. He said Professor Otto Trieffterer not only helped for drafting and fine tuning the International Crimes Tribunal Act 1973 but also he played a vital role for establishing Numemberg Tribunal Act after Second World War. According to Prosecutor Haider Ali there were different types of tasks regarding to try the war criminals that time but the most important task was done by Professor Otto Trieffterer – helping Bangladesh to fine tuning the law.
    The sad day and moment my colleagues at my institute join me in mourning his death and condolence to Mrs. Maria and his two sons Tobias and Daniel.
    I would like to request you if you could arrange his contact address or contact number for me I’ll be grateful.
    My contact number is +88 01713049405, Email:

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