Louis B. Sohn

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Louis B. Sohn
Profesor Sohn.jpg
Profesor Sohn
Ludwig Bruno Sohn

(1914-03-01)1 March 1914
Died7 June 2006(2006-06-07) (aged 92)
Alma materJohn Casimir University
Harvard Law School

Louis Bruno Sohn (1 March 1914 – 7 June 2006) was an Austrian–American legal scholar.


Sohn was born in Lemberg, in what was then Austria-Hungary, later Poland and now Ukraine. He earned his first law degree at John Casimir University in Lwow in 1939, leaving for the United States to take up a Harvard University research fellowship two weeks before Nazi Germany invaded Poland. He was a longtime scholar of international law and advocate of international institutions.[1][2][3]

As a protégé of Manley O. Hudson, he participated in the San Francisco Conference that established the United Nations, working on the statute of the International Court of Justice. Sohn earned his LL.M. and S.J.D. degrees from Harvard Law School. He was appointed an assistant professor there in 1951, succeeding Hudson to the Bemis Chair in 1961. Upon retirement from Harvard, Sohn followed his friend Dean Rusk to the University of Georgia School of Law, where he held the Woodruff Chair in International Law until 1991.

Sohn served as counselor to the Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State in 1970 and 1971. He was the U.S. delegate to the Law of the Sea Convention from 1974 to 1982.

In 1958, Sohn was a co-author, with Grenville Clark, of World Peace Through World Law (Harvard University Press), which examined proposals to transform the United Nations into a world government.[4] The book called for complete disarmament and the use of world judicial tribunals to solve international disputes. The plan also proposed a permanent world police force to enforce a prohibition on the use of force by states.

He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by numerous people from 1959 to 1964.[5]

Upon Sohn's death in 2006, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan issued a statement noting Sohn's reputation as "a voice of reason and source of wisdom," and celebrating his "firm belie[f] in the importance of the United Nations and of the rule of law in settling international disputes."[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sullivan, Patricia (June 14, 2006). "International Law Expert Louis Sohn". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  2. ^ Buergenthal, Thomas. "Louis B. Sohn (1914-2006)". The American Journal of International Law. 100 (3, July 2006): 623–628. JSTOR 4091372.
  3. ^ Hevesi, Dennis (June 23, 2006). "Louis B. Sohn, Passionate Supporter of the U.N., Dies at 92". New York Times. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  4. ^ Clark, Grenville; Sohn, Louis B. (1962). World Peace Through World Law (2nd (Revised) ed.). Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press – via Internet Archive.
  5. ^ "Nomination Database". Retrieved May 25, 2016 – via Nobelprize.org.
  6. ^ "Secretary-General Saddened at Death of Professor Louis Sohn, Important Figure in History of United Nations, International Law". Press Release. 23 June 2006. Retrieved May 25, 2016.


  • Vagts, Detlev F. (2007). "Louis Sohn". Harvard Journal of International Law. 48: 19–21.

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Manley O. Hudson
Bemis Professor of International Law
Detlev F. Vagts