Academy Fellows

Fellows of the IUCN Academy are nominated on the basis of “exceptional service in the field of environmental law, over an extended period.” In awarding the designation of Fellow, the Academy takes into account contributions in such areas as environmental law teaching and scholarly research, environmental law practice, or service to the field of environmental law in a judicial or administrative capacity or in the provision of community‐based services, including work in non‐governmental agencies. A candidate’s service to the field of environmental law may be focused on the international, regional, national or local levels.

The following outstanding contributors to the field of environmental law are named as Fellows of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law:

  • Justice Antonio Herman Benjamin
  • Professor Edith Brown Weiss
  • Dr. Wolfgang Burhenne
  • Professor Dr. Ludwig Kramer
  • Mr. M.C. Mehta
  • Professor Nicholas Robinson
  • Judge Christopher Gregory Weeramantry

Justice Antonio Herman Benjamin

(Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, LLB; University of Illinois College of Law, LLM)


Justice Antonio Benjamin of the National High Court of Brazil is a former senior Assistant Attorney General of the State of São Paulo in Brazil, where he was the head of both the consumer and environmental protection divisions. Justice Benjamin is the founder of the Brazilian Consumer Law and Policy Institute and the Law for a Green Planet Institute. He was a member of the legal expert committee that drafted Brazilian statutes including the Crimes against the Environment Act. Justice Benjamin also served as a member of the UN Secretary General Legal Experts Group on Crimes Against the Environment and on the Brazilian Environmental Council (CONAMA).

Professor Edith Brown Weiss

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Professor Edith Brown Weiss is theFrancis Cabell Brown Professor of International Law, Georgetown Law, Georgetown University, and the author of groundbreaking international environmental law scholarship including work on the concept of intergenerational equity. Her classic study, In Fairness to Future Generations: International Law, Common Patrimony, and Intergenerational Equity (1989), received the Certificate of Merit Award in 1990 from the American Society of International Law. Edith Brown Weiss has also served as Associate General Counsel for International Activities at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1990-92; President of the American Society of International Law; Chair of the Committee for Research in Global Environmental Change of the Social Science Research Council, 1989-94; and as U.S. Special Legal Advisor to the North American Commission on the Environment 1996-2002. In September 2002 she was appointed to the Inspection Panel of the World Bank, subsequently serving as President of that panel from 2003-2007. Her numerous awards include the 2003 the ABA Award for Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy.

Dr. Wolfang Burhenne


Dr. Wolfang Burhenne is the Executive Governor (honorary) of the International Council of Environmental Law (ICEL). His lifelong contributions to international environmental law include his participation in the drafting and promotion of major international environmental law treaties, including the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty on Environmental Protection.

Elected in 1960 as the first Chair of the IUCN Committee on Legislation and Administration (later the Commission on Environmental Law (CEL), Dr. Burhenne went on to become the longest serving Chairman of an IUCN Commission.

Among his many honors, he is a recipient of the Elizabeth Haub Prize for Environmental Law, the Environmental Law Institute Award and the Harold Jefferson Coolidge Medal. He remains an inspiration to environmental lawyers and policy makers worldwide.

Professor Dr. Ludwig Kramer


Professor Dr. Ludwig Kramer, one of the leading experts on environmental law and policy in the European Union, is currently senior counsel of Client Earth and head of the EU’s Aarhus Centre where he is instrumental in promoting access to information and rights of participation. Dr. Krämer was a judge at the Landgericht Kiel (1969- 2004). He joined the European Commission in 1972, serving in a series of senior legal positions until his retirement in 2004 with the distinction of being the longest serving official of the European Commission in the field of environmental protection.

In addition to his profession as an official of the European Commission, Professor Dr. Ludwig Krämer successfully engaged in intensive academic legal writing and teaching activities. Krämer is the author of some 20 books and handbooks and 200 articles on European environmental law. Moreover, he has lectured on the subject of environmental rights and law at more than 50 universities in Europe and North America.

Mr. M.C. Mehta


Mr. M. C. Mehta is a renowned environmental litigator who has been the driving force behind some of the most famous and influential judicial decisions in environmental law. He is, among other things, accorded considerable credit in saving the Taj Mahal from slow destruction through airborne pollution and with helping to clean up the Ganges River from pollution by toxic chemicals manufactured by various industries. The cases he has been involved in have not only re-define the field of environmental law in India, but have also influenced the development of environmental jurisprudence in other countries and at the international level.

Mehta has devoted nearly his entire career to the protection of India's environment and those who depend upon it through pioneering legal activism. His tireless efforts have been recognized through a series of distinguished awards including the Governor's Gold Medal; the Goldman Environmental Prize; the UN's Global 500 Award and the Magsaysay Award.

He continues to work for the protection of the Indian environment through the MC Mehta Environmental Foundation in New Dehli.

Professor Nicholas Robinson


Professor Nicholas Robinson is the Gilbert & Sarah Kerlin Professor of Environmental Law at Pace University where he has been teaching since 1978. He was a pioneer in the study and development of environmental law, and instrumental in encouraging institutional developments in mooting, in clinical legal education, in international environmental law exchange teaching and long-distance learning. Professor Robinson was founder and first Chair of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law (2004-2008). He has contributed his extensive knowledge and expertise at the state, national and international levels in such forms as legal advisory or board member services to governments (Legal Advisory Committee to the President's Council on Environmental Quality), international agencies (FAO, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, American Council for UNESCO) and ENGOs (Environmental Law Institute); provision of congressional testimony; and participation in delegations to global fora such as the 1972 Stockholm Conference, the UNCED at Rio in 1992 and the Johannesburg Summit in 2002.

Professor Robinson has been honoured for his contributions to environmental law with numerous awards in the United States and internationally.

Judge Christopher Gregory Weeramantry


Judge Christopher Gregory Weeramantry is former Vice-President of the International Court of Justice. In the course of his professional career of over five decades as lawyer, legal educator, domestic judge, international judge, author and lecturer, Judge Weeramantry has touched on a wide variety of topics essential to peace, cross-cultural understanding and education. He has written over twenty five books and lectured extensively on these topics in over fifty countries.

He is a Doctor of Laws of the University of London and also a Doctor of Literature (Honoris Causa) of the same University. Before his appointment to the Court, he was a Justice of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka and a Professor of Law, Monash University, Australia.

Judge Weeramantry was the President of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA) for many years. He is the founder of the Weeramantry International Centre for Peace Education and Research (WICPER). WICPER is based on Judge Weeramantry’s philosophy and has his vast corpus of research and writing as an informational base from which to develop its programmes.

Judge Weeramantry received the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education, 2006, in recognition of his commitment and concrete undertakings in support of the concept and culture of peace through his career. He has also received the Right Livelihood Award, 2007, sometimes described as the Alternative Nobel Prize and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation in 2008.

Judge Weeramantry has delivered several Opinions in the International Court of Justice which have helped to develop international law in the light of multicultural perspectives. For example, his Opinion in Hungary v Slovakia, [Case Concerning the Gabčikovo-Nagymaros Project (Hungary/Slovakia), ICJ Reports 1997, pp. 88-119] is considered to be perhaps the leading exposition of the subject of sustainable development from a multi-cultural view point. For this reason he was also asked to address the judicial summit at Johannesburg on this topic in 2003, as a prelude to the Heads of State Summit on Sustainable Development.

Another of Judge Weeramantry’s outstanding Opinions is his Dissenting Opinion in the Nuclear Weapons Advisory Opinion Case. In that Opinion, Judge Weeramantry declared categorically that the use of nuclear weapons offends every principle of international humanitarian law and that the use of these weapons is totally unjustifiable in any circumstances whatsoever. This is the Opinion most often cited on the illegality of nuclear weapons.

In 1998, when the City of The Hague celebrated its 750th Anniversary, it designated eighteen areas in which it had excelled over the centuries. One of these was international justice. A search committee was set up to identify one personality representing excellence in each of these areas. The personality selected to represent The Hague’s excellence in international justice was Judge Weeramantry and a book was published outlining the work of the eighteen personalities selected.

In 2003, the Australian Government granted the honour of Member of the Order of Australia to Judge Weeramantry. In 2007, Judge Weeramantry received the title of Sri Lankabhimanya (The Pride of Sri Lanka), which is the highest national honour of Sri Lanka awarded by the President of Sri Lanka.