Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Kai Ambos

Chair for Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Comparative Law, International Criminal Law and Public International Law, Faculty of Law, Georg August Universität Göttingen, Germany

Acting Director "Institute for Criminal Law and Justice"

Director "Centro de Estudios de Derecho Penal y Procesal Penal Latinoamericano" (CEDPAL)

Judge Kosovo Specialist Chambers, The Hague, Netherlands

Advisor (amicus curiae) of the Colombian Special Jurisdiction for Peace

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Kai Ambos studied law and politics at the Universities of Freiburg, Oxford (UK) and Munich from 1984 to 1990. He passed his First State Examination (Erstes Staatsexamen) in law at Munich University in 1990 and the Second State Examination (Zweites Staatsexamen for admittance to legal practice and judiciary) in the state of Baden-Württemberg in 1994. He obtained his Dr.jur. from Munich University in 1992, where he also completed his Habilitiation (post-doctoral qualification to obtain a full Professorship) in 2001.

Ambos holds, since May 2003, the Chair of Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Comparative Law, International Criminal Law and Public International Law at the Georg-August-University Göttingen, Germany. Previously he worked, inter alia, at the Max-Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law, Freiburg, Germany and has been involved in the Criminal Justice Reform in Latin America and Eastern Europe since then. He served as a Judge at  the Provincial Court (Landgericht) of Lower Saxony in Göttingen from 24 March 2006 to 7 February 2017 (from January 2015 to 30 September 2015 delegated to the Appeals Court (Oberlandesgericht) Braunschweig); with his appointment as Judge at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC), The Hague, on 7 February 2017 he took leave from this judicial position. On 6 December 2017 he has been appointed as Advisor (Amicus Curiae) to the Colombian Special Jurisdiction for Peace. On 17 September 2018 he received the price "Orden Carlos Lemos Simmonds" for his involvement in the Colombian peace process. He is also list Counsel at the International Criminal Court. On 17 November 2020 he received the Wissenschaftspreis Niedersachsen which is the highest academic award in this Federal state. He has been appointed external member of the Law Faculty of the University of Lisbon (Portugal) on 19 May 2021. In December 2023 he has been elected as member of DFG review board for Law (Fachkolleg Rechtswissenschaften).

Judge Ambos is also since December 2013 Director of the Centro de Estudios de Derecho Penal y Procesal Penal Latinoamericano (CEDPAL) of Georg-August-Universität Göttingen. He serves as Editor-in-Chief of Criminal Law Forum (Springer, Society for the Reform of Criminal law) and, in different capacity, as member in various editorial boards of national and international journals, for example, Goltdammer's Archiv für Strafrecht, International Criminal Law Review, L'Indice Penale, Revista Penal, Revista Portuguesa de Ciência Criminal, Zeitschrift für internationale Strafrechtsdogmatik. Furthermore, he is also a member of the Advisory Board for the ELTE Law Journal and the Journal of Criminal Law. He is general coordinator of the Anglo-German Dialogue on ‘Core Concepts in Criminal Law and Justice’ and general editor of the three volumes product of this dialogue to be published by Cambridge University Press.

He was Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Winter Semester 2011/2012; Fellow Faculty of Law and Clare Hall College, University of Cambridge, UK, April to August 2016 (Life Member of Clare Hall College since then); Plumer Fellow St. Anne’s College and Visiting Fellow, Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford, UK, 1 August to 20 September 2017. Visiting Professor in China, Latin America (Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru), Spain, Italy and Israel.

His main research lies in criminal law and procedure, comparative law, international criminal law with a regional focus on Latin America, Portugal, Spain and Eastern Europe. He has various publications in various languages (Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish) in these areas, recent English ones include:

  • Commentary of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Beck/Nomos/Hart, 2022 (fourth edition)
  • Treatise of International Criminal Law, three volumes, Oxford: OUP, 2013-2016 (first edition) and 2021-2024 (second edition)
  • The Crime of Genocide and the Principle of Legality under Article 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights, 17 Human Rights Law Review (2017), 175-186
  • European Criminal Law and Brexit, in M. Böse/M. Bohlander/A. Klip/O. Lagodny (eds.), Justice Without Borders. Essays in Honour of Wolfgang Schomburg, Leiden/Bosten: Brill, 2018, 1-22
  • Fairness and Expediency in International Criminal Procedure, in J. Jackson/S. Summers (eds.), Obstacles to Fairness in Criminal Proceedings, Oxford: Hart, 2018, 179-189.
  • European Criminal Law, Cambridge: CUP, 2018.
  • International Economic Criminal Law, 29 Criminal Law Forum (2018), 499-566
  • National Socialist Criminal Law, Nomos/Hart 2019
  • The Current State and Future of Comparative Criminal Law – A German Perspective, 24 UCLA J. Int’l L & For. Aff., p. 9-47, 2020
  • The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. A Commentary, 4th ed., München: C.H. Beck/Hart/Nomos, 2022, ca. 2500 pp

For further infomation please see the following PDF-documents:

Vita Breve (short version) in: German and English

List of Publications

Teaching Classes (German)

Lectures (original language)