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Zaffaroni holds a Ph.D. in Law and Social Sciences from Universidad Nacional del Litoral, awarded in 1964. He is Professor and Chair of the Department of Criminal Law at the Universidad de Buenos Aires. He serves as President of the Advisory Committee of the Instituto de Políticas Públicas (Public Policy Institute) and Vice President of the Scientific Committee of the International Association of Penal Law. He has been awarded OEA and Max Planck Stiftung fellowships and won the Stockholm Prize in Criminology in 2009. He holds honorary degrees from universities in Latin America, Spain, and Italy.
Zaffaroni served two decades on the Federal Penal Court of Buenos Aires City, from 1975 to 1990. Then he was the General Director of the Instituto Latinoamericano de Prevención del Delito, a branch of the United Nations. He represented the Front for a Country in Solidarity in the assembly that drew up the 1994 reform of the Argentine Constitution. He was a member of the Buenos Aires Chamber of Representatives in 1997, and Director of the National Institute Against Discrimination during 2000-2001.
Zaffaroni has drafted penal legislation for Argentina (1991), Costa Rica (1991), and Ecuador (1992). He has written 25 books, including Manual de Derecho Penal, Tratado de Derecho Penal in five volumes, En busca de las penas perdidas and Estructuras judiciales. He co-authored Derecho Penal: General with Alejandro Slokar and Alejandro Alagia. He has published extensively in scholarly journals.
- criminologyprize.com: Stockholm Prize in Criminology awarded for research on genocide
- Drug Policy Reformer Nominated to Supreme Court in Argentina - The Narco News Bulletin (against the Drug War), 2 July 2003.
- Homenaje al jurista Eugenio Raúl Zaffaroni - de www.iuspenalismo.com.ar
- Vídeo entrevista a Raúl Zaffaroni, de www.cienciaspenales.net, Toledo, España, 2007.