San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Former Costa Rican foreign minister to chair U.N. International Law Commission

Former Costa Rican Foreign Minister Bernd Niehaus on Monday was elected president of the United Nations’ International Law Commission, based in Geneva, Switzerland.

“Niehaus is the first Costa Rican to reach the highest position in one of the most prestigious institutions in the creation of international law,” the Foreign Ministry said in a press release.

The U.N.’s International Law Commission is composed of 34 members who are elected for distinguished records in the field, with the mission of promoting the development of international law.

The members are elected for five years, and they are not direct representatives of their governments or countries, but instead act as experts in their individual capacities.

Niehaus has been a member of the International Law Commission since 2007 and was re-elected in 2011. He served as foreign minister of Costa Rica from 1980-1982 and again from 1990-1994. He is Costa Rica’s current ambassador to Germany, Hungary and the Czech Republic, and was previously the Costa Rican ambassador to the United Nations (1998–2002).

In 1994, he was a candidate for the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States.

His term as president of the organization lasts from 2013-2014.

Contact L. Arias at

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