Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Albin Eser, M.C.J. (NYU)

Director emeritus

Main Focus

In the be­gin­ning of his aca­dem­ic life, Pro­fess­or Es­er’s primary in­terests were ini­tially in theft, fraud, oth­er eco­nom­ic crimes, and the law on pen­al and ad­min­is­trat­ive sanc­tions. Later on he be­came more in­ter­ested in crim­in­al of­fenses to life and to the per­son, es­pe­cially those in­volving is­sues on the bor­der­line of law and medi­cine. This in­terest is re­flec­ted in a three-volume pro­ject on abor­tion in in­ter­na­tion­al com­par­is­on (Schwanger­schaftsab­bruch im in­ter­na­tionalen Ver­gleich, 1988/1998/2000) as well as in pub­lic­a­tions on sui­cide and eu­thanas­ia, med­ic­al treat­ment and re­search on humans, re­pro­duct­ive medi­cine and gene tech­no­logy. More re­cently, Pro­fess­or Es­er has turned his at­ten­tion to fun­da­ment­al is­sues of com­par­at­ive crim­in­al law (in par­tic­u­lar with a pro­ject com­par­ing the struc­tures of na­tion­al crim­in­al law sys­tems and stud­ies on the de­vel­op­ment, aims and meth­ods of com­par­at­ive jur­is­pru­dence) and to transna­tion­al crim­in­al law (with stud­ies of the Rome Stat­ute of the In­ter­na­tion­al Crim­in­al Court and his ex­per­i­ences as a judge at the In­ter­na­tion­al Crim­in­al Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hag­ue). Re­gard­ing do­mest­ic crim­in­al law, he had been one of the au­thors of Schönke/Schröder, a lead­ing com­ment­ary to the Ger­man Crim­in­al Code, since 1974.

Curriculum Vitae

Pro­fess­or Es­er was born in Leiders­bach/Bav­aria on Janu­ary 26, 1935. After gradu­at­ing from sec­ond­ary school (Abit­ur) in Milten­berg/Main, he stud­ied law at the Uni­versit­ies of Würzburg and Tübin­gen and the Free Uni­versity of Ber­lin from 1954 to 1958. He sat the first state bar ex­am­in­a­tion in Würzburg, where he also earned his doc­tor­ate (Dr. iur. utr.) in 1962. He holds a Mas­ter of Com­par­at­ive Jur­is­pru­dence (M.C.J.) from New York Uni­versity, where he spent a year at the In­sti­tute of Com­par­at­ive Law. After hav­ing worked as a re­search as­sist­ant in the field of civil law at the Uni­versity of Würzburg be­fore sit­ting his second state bar ex­am­in­a­tion in 1964, he trans­ferred to the Uni­versity of Tübin­gen, where he earned his qual­i­fic­a­tion as a uni­versity lec­turer for the sub­jects crim­in­al law, crim­in­al pro­ced­ure, and com­par­at­ive crim­in­al law in 1969 with a Ha­bil­it­a­tion on pen­al sanc­tions in­volving the depriva­tion of money or prop­erty (Die stra­frecht­lichen Sank­tion­en ge­gen das Ei­gentum). Fol­low­ing tem­por­ary fac­ulty po­s­i­tions at the Uni­versit­ies of Ham­burg, Mainz, and Man­nheim, he was ap­poin­ted a full pro­fess­or at the Uni­versity of Biele­feld in June of 1970, where he held the po­s­i­tions of dean and vice-pres­id­ent. Pro­fess­or Es­er re­turned to the Uni­versity of Tübin­gen in 1974 be­fore ac­cept­ing a po­s­i­tion at the Uni­versity of Freiburg in 1982 where, in ad­di­tion to his pro­fess­or­ship, he was ap­poin­ted dir­ect­or at the Max Planck In­sti­tute for For­eign and In­ter­na­tion­al Crim­in­al Law. In ad­di­tion to his aca­dem­ic po­s­i­tions, he was a high­er state court judge from 1971 to 1988, first in Hamm/West­phalia, then in Stut­tgart. In 1986/87, he was dean of the law fac­ulty of the Uni­versity of Freiburg; from 1989 to 1992 he served as vice-pres­id­ent of the Ger­man Re­search Found­a­tion (Deutsche Forschungs­ge­meinsch­aft); and from 1994 to 1997 as chair­per­son of the Hu­man­it­ies Sec­tion of the Max Planck So­ci­ety. In 1981, he was a vis­it­ing pro­fess­or at the Uni­versity of Cali­for­nia in Los Angeles, in 1986 and 2003 at Columbia Uni­versity Law School in New York, and in 2002 at the Uni­versity of Texas at Galve­ston. He has been awar­ded hon­or­ary doc­tor­ates from Ja­gi­el­lo­ni­an Uni­versity in Krakow (Po­land) in 1991, Uni­ver­sid­ad Peru­ana Los Andes in Huan­cayo (Peru) in 1997, and Waseda Uni­versity in Tokyo (Ja­pan) in 2001. Since 1993, he had been an hon­or­ary mem­ber of the Hun­gari­an Academy of Sci­ences in Bud­apest. In 2001, Pro­fess­or Es­er was awar­ded the Uni­versity Medal of the Uni­versity of Freiburg; in 2004, he was dec­or­ated with the Fed­er­al Cross of Mer­it (Of­ficer’s Cross). After re­tir­ing from his aca­dem­ic po­s­i­tions in 2003, Pro­fess­or Es­er served on the In­ter­na­tion­al Crim­in­al Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hag­ue as an ad litem judge. Af­ter­wards he was lec­tur­ing at vari­ous con­fer­ences and teach­ing at for­eign universi­ties, in par­tic­u­lar so as vis­it­ing pro­fess­or at Ritsumeik­an Uni­versity in Kyoto/Ja­pan in sum­mer term 2008, in the fall semester 2009 at Saint Louis Uni­versity in Mis­souri (USA), in the fall term 2010 at the Uni­versity of Haifa/Is­rael, in spring term 2011 at the Uni­versity of Tas­mania in Hobart/Aus­tralia, and in the sum­mer term 2013 at the Hebrew Uni­versity in Jer­u­s­alem/Is­rael.

Albin Eser passed away in January 2023.

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