Lucius Caflisch has been appointed chairman of the United Nations International Law Commission. The panel of independent legal experts is preparing most multilateral conventions.
The foreign ministry considers the appointment of 76-year-old Caflisch a mark of recognition for the former dean of the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.
Switzerland gives great importance to the work of the commission, particularly concerning compliance with international law and its further development, the ministry said in a statement.
In 2006, Caflisch became the first Swiss citizen to join the 34-strong commission. He was re-elected by the UN General Assembly for a second five-year term last November.
He also worked a judge at the European Court of Human Rights, as a legal advisor to the Swiss foreign ministry and taught at a number of universities.
His mandate as chairman of the commission, which is based in Geneva, is valid for the current session. It lasts until August 2012.