Since its creation in 1943 the Institute focuses its research and activities on the impact of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and other relevant Council of Europe instruments in areas such as :
The Institute was founded by two Professors of public and international law, Carl Axel Reuterskiöld and Halvar Sundberg, and began its activities in 1943. The fact that the organisation was set up under private law was not unimportant for a scientific institute with the task of critically reviewing government activities. The universities were, and still are, regarded as authorities. However, the Institute has not been unrelated to the university world. It has notably since 1984 provided support for the Nordic Moot Court competition on the Convention (formerly the Sporrong Lönnroth competition) and still does even if the competition has been divested from the University and is today fully autonomous. The Institute has also worked with the Council of Europe. It was for example appointed by the organisation’s Secretary General as national rapporteur for Sweden for the Human Rights Documentation Centre in Strasbourg from 1982 to 1988. This responsibility led to a number of interesting annual reports in English on the impact of the Convention in Sweden. However, the initiative of national correspondents was abandoned and has not been replaced.
The Institute’s activities have covered large areas of public and international law. It has played an important role in making the European Convention of Human Rights known and respected in Sweden and focuses today mainly on the many issues linked with its implementation so as to allow it to fully develop its trust inspiring potential, both within and in between states. Especially in face of today’s major pan European, not to say world embracing, challenges it puts a lot of emphasis on the Convention’s interaction both with the EU and the United Nations. In this context the Institute is devoting, in the spirit of the United Nations guiding principles on Human Rights and Business, considerable attention to the Convention’s contribution to an efficient and responsible market economy, capable of efficiently contributing to alleviating today’s important human rights’ concerns especially as regards the social, environmental and climate challenges faced.
ABOUT THE FOUNDERS
Fredrik G.E. Sundberg (born 1955): Scientific Director together with Jacob Sundberg since 2020. Reserve officer exam 1975, Law degree 1981, Master of Comparative Jurisprudence at NYU 1983. Joined the Councilof Europe and the registry of the ECtHR in 1984, moved to the former Commission in 1990 and to the Directorate for Human Rights in 1993 with various positions linked with the Convention and the Committee of Ministers – mainly intergovernmental co-operation and supervision of the implementation of ECtHR judgments (has been involved in some 15.000 cases raising problems of a general nature and many more raising issues of individual redress). Head of the Department for the execution of ECtHR Judgments. Teaching assignments at many universities and institutions, including the College of Europe 1999-2002 and since 2022 at the University of Zaragoza, Spain.
Jacob W.F. Sundberg (born 1927): Scientific Director since 1973, together with Fredrik Sundberg since 2020. Law degree 1948, reserve officer exam 1951, Master of Comparative Jurisprudence at NYU 1957, jur.dr. 1961 civil aviation law, court of appeal service, preceptor in civil law 1963. Professor of general jurisprudence, 1970-1993 Stockholm University. National rapporteur for the Council of Europe on the implementation of the European Convention in Sweden 1984-1988, organiser of the Sporrong Lönnroth moot court competition on the Convention 1984-2003, member of the ILA and AIDP, many international assignments, including chairman of the 1989 commission to investigate responsibility for the famine in Ukraine 1932-33; visiting professorships at several universities in the USA, including the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Professor emeritus since 1993. Foreign honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Science.
Halvar G.F. Sundberg (b. 1894-1973): Scientific director until 1973. Professor of international law and constitutional law at Uppsala University, politician and financial counsellor in Stockholm. Founder of the Institute for Public and International Law in 1943. Pioneering figure in civil rights issues and the impact of the European Convention on Swedish law and government.
Carl Axel ReuterskIöld (b. 1870-1944) : Professor of notably international and constitutional law at Uppsala University 1909-1935; politician and member of the upper house 1919-1938, co founder of the Institute in 1943.