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Rolf Einar FIFE

Candidate of Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Sweden for the United Nations International Law Commission for the period 2023–2027

The Nordic countries are proud to present the candidature of Ambassador Rolf Einar Fife for election to the International Law Commission (ILC) for the term 2023-2027, at the elections to be held during the 76th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2021.

Defending and strengthening the rule of law and international legal institutions are core Nordic priorities. The five Nordic countries share a common legal tradition and culture, distinct from the major legal systems of the world. They have a proven record of constructive engagement and open dialogue at the United Nations, which is reflected by contributions to the codification and progressive development of international law from distinguished Nordic practitioners and scholars.

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Ambassador Rolf Einar Fife has extensive experience in international law. Fife´s broad-based experience, personal integrity, professionalism, and commitment to the international rule of law make him an outstanding candidate for the Commission. The Nordic countries are convinced that they would make a valuable contribution to their work.

Ambassador Fife served as Director-General for Legal Affairs and chief legal adviser of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs from January 2002 to August 2014. Throughout a distinguished legal and diplomatic career, which has included serving as Ambassador of Norway to France and Monaco (2014-2019) and since 2019 as Ambassador to the European Union, Fife has been entrusted with particular legal missions and assignments.

He has participated actively in the development of a number of legal instruments in fields relevant to the work of the ILC. He has chaired multilateral treaty negotiations at the United Nations including on the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court, and participated in international dispute settlement, including before the International Court of Justice and as arbitrator.

«I believe the broad composition and diversity of the ILC, with experts from all regions and legal systems, puts it in a unique position to contribute to strengthening international law in a time of momentous challenges and opportunities.»

Fife was also elected Chair of the Committee of Advisers on International Law (CAHDI) of the Council of Europe (2009-2010). He is a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration since 2004. In 2017 he was elected an associate member of the Institut de Droit international.

Ambassador Rolf Einar Fife  talking to a group of people

Fife has published more than 60 academic contributions in the fields of the Arctic and polar issues, the law of the sea, international criminal law, international criminal courts and tribunals, United Nations law and general international law. For extended periods of time, he has also taught international law, including at the University of Oslo and the Norwegian Defence University College, and has been invited to lecture at the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques, Paris, and other key institutions. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law at Cambridge University 2009-2010.  In 2020, he was appointed member of the International Advisory Body of the Centre for Geopolitics of the University of Cambridge.

He was Chair of the Norwegian Branch of the International Law Association (2002-2014), and member of the Editorial Board of the Nordic Journal of International Law.

Fife is fluent in several languages and takes a particular interest in comparative legal systems, and the interaction between different legal cultures and international law, both in the development of practice and of doctrine. Moreover, he maintains a keen interest in the interaction between international law and its political, economic, and technological context and developments, in times of momentous challenges related to climate change, digital transformations, and the COVID-19 crisis.