Judge Thomas Buergenthal served as the American judge on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) from 2000 until 2010. Between 1979 and 1991, he was a judge and president of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. In the 1990s, he served as a member of the UN Human Rights Committee and the UN Truth Commission for El Salvador.
On his retirement from the ICJ, Judge Buergenthal was named Lobingier Professor of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence at the George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC, returning to a position he had held prior to his election to the ICJ. He is also a member of the Ethics Commission of the International Olympic Committee.
Professor Buergenthal was the Dean of the Washington College of Law of the American University from 1980 to 1985. He also served as professor of international law at the SUNY/Buffalo Law School, the University of Texas and Emory University Law Schools. While at Emory, he was the director of the Human Rights Program of the Carter Center.
Buergenthal graduated from Bethany College, West Virginia. He received his J.D. degree from the New York University Law School and his LL.M. and S.J.D. degrees from the Harvard Law School. He is the recipient of honorary degrees from various American and European universities, including the Washington College of Law of the American University, George Washington University, Free University of Brussels, University of Heidelberg, New York University, Bethany College, and the University of Göttingen. In 2008 the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation awarded him the International Justice Prize.
Buergenthal is the author of more than a dozen books and a large number of articles dealing with international law and human rights subjects. His memoir, A Lucky Child, which was published in the U.S. and U.K. in 2009, has been translated into various languages, among them German, French, Spanish, Japanese, Dutch, Norwegian and Swedish.