Criminal law is no longer an exclusively national issue. National borders, in particular within Europe, are fading away. Council of Europe, Schengen and the European Union have substantially contributed to this development, not without inventing new tools of cooperation in criminal matters. The same goes for the global level governed by permanently new treaties shaped by the United Nations. Consequently there is an ever increasing need for legal counsel in matters of international and transnational criminal law. This not only applies to the victims and suspects of transnational crimes, but also to persons who fall prey to the exploitation of international cooperation mechanisms, thus becoming the targets of extradition requests, searches and seizures or asset freezing. Specialist knowledge and international experience is therefore a vital requirement if one wishes to offer clients legal protection and face foreign or national courts and authorities on eye level.
Also embassies and consulates, who have the duty to provide diplomatic services to their citizens in Germany, are increasingly seeking legal counsel. For these reasons, the law office Ufer Knauer Rechtsanwälte has reinforced its expertise in this area with the addition of Prof. Dr. h.c. Wolfgang Schomburg, a renowned leading authority in the field of international cooperation in criminal matters. Prof. Dr. Schomburg prepares expert assessments on behalf of the law office and advises and represents clients as of counsel.
Professor Schomburg began his legal career as a Public Prosecutor, Judge and Senior Public Prosecutor in West Berlin. At the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall he served as Undersecretary of State at the Senate Justice Department for West Berlin and later for the joint Senate Justice Department for the reunited Berlin. From 1991 he moved into private practice and was counsel to numerous prominent international and national clients from business, politics and church.
From 1995 to 2000 he served as Judge and Investigating Judge in the Criminal Division of the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof). He was then the first German to become a Criminal Judge in an international criminal court. Elected by the UN General Assembly, Schomburg served from 2001 to 2008 as a Judge at the UN International Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia, The Hague, The Netherlands, and for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania.
Professor Schomburg has been awarded the Great Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Großes Verdienstkreuz der Bundesrepublik Deutschland).
Since 2009 he is an honorary professor of law at Durham Law School, United Kingdom, and teaches International Cooperation in Criminal Matters to students from across the globe. He was awarded the title of “Doctor of Civil Law” h.c. in 2013.
As a leading expert for international criminal law he has conducted and participated in numerous training seminars (in particular in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia; Rwanda; as well as Egypt, France, Georgia, Italy, Jordan, Morocco, Moldova, Portugal, Russia and Ukraine) on behalf of the UN, the Council of Europe, the European Union (for example the European Judicial Training Network – EJTN), the OSCE, and the German Foundation for International Legal Cooperation (IRZ). He is a regular guest lecturer at UN institutes such as UNICRI (Turin) and at various national and international universities.
Prof. Schomburg is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Penal Law (AIDP), the European Law Academy (ERA), and United Nations Association of Germany, and the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany.
He has written over 200 publications, predominantly on international and transnational criminal law. Also, he became co-founder of the German and English language standard commentary “Internationale Rechtshilfe in Strafsachen = International Cooperation in Criminal Matters” by C.H. Beck, Munich, already in 1983. The commentary was last published in its 6th edition in 2020.
Advice provided in:
German, English and Danish