Focus areas: International law, human rights, European Union law wand European Union policies, Security policy, Sustainable development
Professor Horst Fischer has been teaching the international humanitarian law course at SIPA since 2002 and has taught the international law course in 2005 and in the fall terms 2017-2020. Fischer was professor and hold the chair of International Humanitarian Law at Leiden University, Netherlands from 1997 to 2020. He is professor emeritus at the Leiden University Law faculty.
He also held regular teaching positions and had been visiting professor at the Universities of Strasbourg (France), University of Leuven (Belgium), Vesalius College (Brussels), University UNB-Brasilia (Brazil) and Ca Foscari University, Venice, Italy. From 2007 to 2016 he was the Director of the Brussels Representation of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) (the development organization of the German Government) representing GIZ vis a vis the European Union institutions. From 2002 - 2016 Fischer had been president of the European Inter University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation in Venice. From 1994 to 2007 he was President and Honorary President of the Network on Humanitarian Action (NOHA) Association in Brussels. From 2001 to 2012, he served as Chairman of the Board of the Berghof Foundation for Conflict Research in Berlin.
He is currently serving as Associate Director Economic Cooperation, CEA-PME, Brussels working on development issues and the role of companies. He also acts as Senior Member of the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies and Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Global Governance Institute, Brussels. He continues to act as advisor for different national and international bodies on international law, European law and international policy issues as he did from 1990 to 2020 for the United Nations, the European Union, several national ministries and various organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Amnesty International and the Federation of National Red Cross Organisations. He had also served as member of several diplomatic delegations to international conferences and meetings that dealt with international law, international organisations, humanitarian affairs and development issues.
The President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Horst Köhler, awarded the Federal Cross of Merit 1st Class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany to Horst Fischer on March 17, 2010 for achievements in humanitarian affairs and the internationalisation of master programmes. Fischer received in 1999 a special award by the the German Rectors Conference for establishing European Master Programmes in international humanitarian affairs. The City of Venice, Italy, gave him on September 22, 2013 a special award for his contribution to the international human rights culture .
Fischer earned his PhD in 1984 from the University of Bochum in Germany with a thesis on international law and the use of nuclear weapons. He co-founded in 1988 the Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict at the Ruhr - University Bochum (IFHV) serving as Academic Director for 28 years. He served as legal counsel for both the Netherlands Red Cross Society and the German Red Cross, for which he also acted as Federal Commissioner and Board member.