Manfred Nowak

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Manfred Nowak
Manfred Nowak (September 2007)
Born 1950-06-26
Bad Aussee
Nationality Austrian
Alma mater University of Vienna (LL.D.), Columbia University (LL.M.)
Occupation Scientific Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institut für Menschenrechte
Title Professor of Constitutional Law and Human Rights, University of Vienna

Manfred Nowak (born 26 June 1950 in Bad Aussee) is an Austrian human rights lawyer, who served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture from 2004 to 2010. He is Scientific Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights, and a former judge at the Human Rights Chamber for Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Nowak was a student of Felix Ermacora, and cooperated with him until Ermacora's death in 1995. They co-founded the Ludwig Boltzmann Institut für Menschenrechte (with Hannes Tretter) in 1992. He is Scientific Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights. Nowak is also a visiting professor at American University Washington College of Law's Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (2006–2012).

Nowak was a member of the Austrian delegation to United Nations Commission on Human Rights 1986–1993. From 1987 to 1989 he was director of the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM) at the Utrecht University.[citation needed]

Nowak was one of the judges of the Human Rights Chamber for Bosnia and Herzegovina between March 1996 and December 2003. He was also the vice president of the Chamber between December 1997 and December 1998.[citation needed]

From 2004 to October 2010 Nowak was the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture,[1] and was one of the five authors of a United Nations report on the detention of captives at the United States naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

In 2005 Nowak visited China, claiming that torture remained "widespread" there. He also complained of Chinese officials interfering with his work.[2]

In September 2006 he alleged that torture may be more of a problem in Iraq since the Iraq War than under Saddam Hussein's regime. Much of the torture, he argued, is carried out by security forces, militias and insurgents.[3]

From 6 to 9 November 2006, he presented at the international panel at Gadjah Mada University for adoption of Yogyakarta Principles and has become one of the 29 signatories.[4]

In February 2008 Nowak was a founding member of the 'Research Platform Human Rights in the European Context' at the University of Vienna.[5]

In January 2009, Nowak appeared on Germany's ZDF television saying he believed the United States had a clear obligation to bring proceedings against President George W. Bush and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, because of torture inflicted on detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba. Nowak said, "We have seen the documents that show that these interrogation methods were expressly ordered by Rumsfeld, but of course with the knowledge of the highest levels in the United States."[6]

Novak looked into allegations from Manning supporters that U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning, accused of leaking classified documents to the website WikiLeaks, was mistreated in military custody.[7]

Nowak gives an account of his work as Special Rapporteur in the Journal of Human Rights Practice.[8]

Since 2012 Manfred Nowak is the Scientific Director of the "Vienna Master of Arts in Human Rights" at the University of Vienna.[9]


In 2013 Nowak received the University of Oslo’s Human Rights Award for his "defense of fundamental human rights."[10]

In 2014 Manfred Nowak was honored with the Otto Hahn Peace Medal.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment". Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  2. ^ "China torture 'still widespread'". BBC News. 2005-12-02. Retrieved 2010-11-06. There were serious incidents of obstructing my mission, Manfred Nowak, UN rapporteur on torture said. 
  3. ^ "Iraq torture 'worse after Saddam'". BBC News. 2006-09-21. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  4. ^ Signatories to the Yogyakarta Principles, p. 35
  5. ^ "The Research Platform Human Rights in the European Context". University of Vienna. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  6. ^ "Bush Should Face Prosecution, Says UN Representative". Deutsche Welle. 2009-01-21. Retrieved 2010-11-06. The former US administration under George W. Bush should be made legally accountable for torture and abuse in Guantanamo, says the UN's special rapporteur on torture. 
  7. ^ UN looking into WikiLeaks suspect's treatment, Washington Post (December 22, 2010)
  8. ^ Nowak, Manfred (2009). "Fact-Finding on Torture and Ill-Treatment and Conditions of Detention" (PDF). Journal of Human Rights Practice. 1 (1): 101–119. doi:10.1093/jhuman/hun004. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  9. ^ "Vienna Master of Arts in Human Rights". University of Vienna. Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ Otto Hahn Peace Medal in Gold

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