Rudolf BindschedlerRudolf Bindschedler

Born in 1915, Rudolf Bindschedler obtained his Law degree from the University of Zürich. After briefly working for a Zürich District Court, he was hired by the Political Department (known today as the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs) of Switzerland in 1943. During his work at the Department, he quickly realized the need for a separate division in charge of legal services regarding public international law. After strongly encouraging the creation of such a division, he became the first director of what is now known as the Directorate of Public International Law. In 1961, Bindschedler became an independent counsel to the Department focusing on more theoretical aspects of international arbitration and the codification of public international law. A pragmatist mindful of the real-world application of public international law, he distinguished himself through clarity and precision in his work as he served as counsel until his retirement in 1980.

Academically, Bindschedler submitted his habilitation to the University of Berne in 1950 and thereafter taught as a lecturer and later on as an ordinary professor. His research interests included International cooperation in the field of public international law, its codification, and, of course, the law of neutrality. He was also invited to teach in The Hague on the protection of private property in public international law and on the delimitations of the competence of the United Nations in 1961 and 1963 respectively. Bindschedler was named an associate of the Institut de Droit international in 1961 and Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in 1963. He was married to Denise Bindschedler-Robert, a very prominent jurist herself and the first Swiss woman to represent Switzerland at the European Court for Human Rights.


  • Diez, E. (Ed.), Festschrift für Rudolf Bindschedler zum 65. Geburtstag (Verlag Stämpfli Cie AG, 1980).
  • Eidgenössisches Departement für auswärtige Angelegenheiten, Bericht über die Aussenpolitik der Schweiz in den 90er Jahren, Anhang I, Bericht zur Neutralität, 29.11.1993.
  • Kälin, W. et al., Völkerrecht: Eine Einführung (Bern: Stämpfli, 2010) pp. 327-334.
  • NZZ Artikel von 16.11.1979, 29.09.1980, 28.03.1991.

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