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Prof. Bruno Simma 

MLaw prof. appointed to Iran-United States Claims Tribunal

By John Masson
Nov. 6, 2012

It's hard to figure what Michigan Law professor Bruno Simma is going to do for an encore.

Prof. Simma, who recently completed a nine-year term as judge on the International Court of Justice, added this week to an already impressive international CV when he was appointed to serve on the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal in The Hague.

The nine-person panel, established in 1981, consists of three arbitrators chosen by Iran, three chosen by the United States, and three independents. Simma, who is German, joins the independents.

The tribunal has jurisdiction to decide claims of U.S. nationals against Iran, and of Iranian nationals against the U.S., as well as claims between the two governments. Several large and complex cases between the two nations remain on the tribunal's docket.

Prof. Simma's colleagues at Michigan Law were impressed by the appointment—but hardly surprised.

"After completing his term on the International Court of Justice, Bruno probably assumed that his days as a judge were over," said Michigan Law Dean Evan Caminker. "But the tribunal is simply a can't-say-no opportunity. Bruno's appointment is clear evidence of the esteem in which he is held by governments and international players around the world."

Prof. Simma's relationship with Michigan Law stretches back to 1986, when he served as a visitor while a member of the University of Munich law faculty. He held a joint Munich–Ann Arbor faculty appointment between 1987 and 1992, and returned as a visitor in 1995. He served as an affiliated overseas faculty member at Michigan Law beginning in 1997, including time as a William W. Cook Global Professor of Law, and this year he joined the tenured faculty on a part-time basis.

He also served as dean of the University of Munich Faculty of Law.

Prof. Simma's influence outside of the academy grew, as well. He was a member of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights between 1987 and 1996, and he was a member of the UN International Law Commission for the six years prior to his election to the World Court at The Hague.

In the final analysis, Dean Caminker said, Prof. Simma's most recent appointment to the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal is one more affirmation of his deep understanding of international law.

"He'll have yet another opportunity to demonstrate his mastery of law and his wise judgment in resolving the complicated and politically sensitive disputes that remain before the tribunal," Dean Caminker said.

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