Günther Handl

The Eberhard Deutsch Chair in Public International Law

Office Address
Weinmann Hall, Room 355-F

Education & Affiliations

Drjur, 1968, Dipl Dolm, 1969, University of Graz (Austria)
LLB, 1973, Cambridge University
JSD, 1978, Yale University


Günther Handl is recognized across the world for his expertise in international law and has taught at law schools in Canada, Europe and Japan as well as in several U.S. locations.

His teaching and research interests include public international law, international environmental law and law of the sea. He has published extensively in U.S. and European journals.

Handl joined the Tulane law faculty in January 1996. He has served as a consultant to various international organizations and governmental agencies, including the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Bank. He was a special adviser in the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Legal Adviser’s Office in 1998. In 2012, he taught at The Hague Academy of International Law Seminar for Advanced Studies in Public and Private International Law for Practitioners and, in 2013, in the United Nations Regional Course in International Law program in Addis Ababa.

He received the 1997 Elisabeth Haub Prize for exceptional accomplishments in international environmental law and is the founder and former Editor-in-Chief of the Yearbook of International Environmental Law. 


Selected Publications

“Decarbonising the Shipping Industry: A Status Report,” 38 International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law 730 (2023)

 “Redress for Historical Injustices: Haiti’s Claim for the Restitution of post-Independence Payments to France,” 55 Inter-American Law Review 48 (2023)

 “Nuclear Off-Site Emergency Preparedness and Response: Key Concepts and International Normative Principles,” in V. Nian, ed., Advanced Security and Safeguarding in the Nuclear Power Industry 135 (Elsevier, 2020).

 “The Human Right to a Clean Environment and Rights of Nature: Between Advocacy and Reality” in K. von der Decken, A. von Arnauld & M. Susi, The Cambridge Handbook on New Human Rights. Recognition, Novelty, Rhetoric 137 (2020).

 “Marine Environmental Damage: The Compensability of Ecosystem Service Loss in International Law,” 34 International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law 602 (2019).

 “Allocating Transboundary Loss from Offshore Oil and Gas Accidents,” in Günther Handl & Kristoffer Svendsen, eds., Managing the Risk of Offshore Oil and Gas Accidents:  The International Legal Dimension 253 (2019)

 “High Seas Governance Gaps: International Accountability for Nuclear Pollution,” in Robert C. Beckman, Millicent McCreath, J. Ashley Roach, and Zhen Sun (eds.), High Seas Governance: Gaps and Challenges 195 (2019).


“The Integration of Environmental Principles into the Policy and Practice of Multilateral Development Banks,” in L. KRAEMER & E. ORLANDO, EDS., ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAW: PRINCIPLES OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAW ___ (2017).

“ The Right to a Clean Environment and the Rights of the Environment” in K. ODENDAHL, A. VON ARNAULD & M. SUSI, NEW HUMAN RIGHTS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY ___ (2017).


“ Preventing Transboundary Nuclear Pollution: A post- Fukushima Legal Perspective,” in S. JAYAKUMAR, T. KOH, R. BECKMAN & H. DUY PHAN, EDS. TRANSBOUNDARY POLLUTION: EVOLVING ISSUES OF INTERNATIONAL LAW AND POLICY 190 (2015).

“Flag State Responsibility for Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing in Foreign EEZs,” 44 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY & LAW 158 (2014).

“ Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm Declaration), 1972 and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, 1992,” United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law, at http://untreaty.un.org/cod/avl/historicarchives.html#envir

“ Le droit à la santé dans le context du droit de l’environnement,” in JEAN-MARC THOUVENIN & ANNE TREBILCOCK, EDS., MANUEL DE DROIT INTERNATIONAL SOCIAL 1596 (Bruylant, 2013).

“ Extra-Territoriality and Transnational Legal Authority,” in BEYOND TERRITORIALITY: TRANSNATIONAL LEGAL AUTHORITY IN AN AGE OF GLOBALIZATION (co-editor with J. Zekoll & P. Zumbansen) 3 (Brill Publisher, 2012)

“ Responsibilities and Obligations of States Sponsoring Persons and Entities with Respect to Activities in the Area: The International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea’s Recent Contribution to International Environmental Law,” 20 REVIEW OF EUROPEAN AND INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW 208 (2011).

“ International Legal Implications and Responses to the Deepwater Horizon/Macondo Oil Spill,” in“ International Law and the Liability for Catastrophic Environmental Damage,” [2011] PROCEEDINGS, AMERICAN SOCIETY OF INTERNATIONAL LAW 35.

“ The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime: Towards Acceleration or Reversal of its Declining Effectiveness?” 19 TULANE J. INT’L & COMP. L. 1 (2010)

“ In Re South African Apartheid Litigation and Beyond: Corporate Liability for Aiding and Abetting under the Alien Tort Statute,” 53 GERMAN YEARBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL LAW 435 (2010); also posted at http://ssrn.com/abstract= 1677638.

“ American-Mexican Boundary Disputes and Cooperation,” in R. Wolfrum (ed.), The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Oxford University Press, 2010, online edition, [www.mpepil.com]

“ Northwest Passage (Canadian-American Controversy),” in R. Wolfrum (ed.), The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Oxford University Press, 2009, online edition, [www.mpepil.com]

“ Derechos humanos y medio ambiente,” in C. Medina & J. Zalaquett (eds.), Derechos Humanos Hoy:Balance Internacional 171(2008)

“ Maritime Security Partnerships: The International Legal Framework,” in National Research Council/ Naval Studies Board, Maritime Security Partnerships 164 (The National Academies Press, 2008).

“ International Accountability for Transboundary Environmental Harm Revisited: What Role for State Liability?” 37 Environmental Policy and Law 116 (2007), Nos. 2-3.

“ Transboundary Impacts,” in D. Bodansky, J. Brunnée & E. Hey, eds., Oxford Handbook of International Environmental Law 531 (Oxford University Press, 2007).

“ Trail Smelter in Contemporary International Environmental Law: Application to Nuclear Energy,” in R. Bratspies & R. Miller, eds., Transboundary Harm in International Law: Lessons from the Trail Smelter Arbitration 143 (Cambridge University Press, 2006)

“ International ‘Lawmaking’ by Conferences of the Parties and Other Politically Mandated Bodies,” in R. Wolfrum & V. Röben, eds., Developments of International Law in Treaty Making 127 (2005).

“ The IAEA Nuclear Safety Conventions: An Example of Successful ‘Treaty Management’?” 72 Nuclear Law Bulletin 7 (December 2003). 

"Indigenous Peoples' Subsistence Lifestyle as an Environmental Valuation Problem," in M.J. Bowman & A. Boyle, eds., Environmental Damage in International and Comparative Law 85 (Oxford University Press, 2002).

"Human Rights and Protection of the Environment," in A. Eide, C. Krause & A. Rosas, eds., Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: A Textbook 303 (2nd revised ed., Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2001)

“ The Pinochet Case, Foreign State Immunity and the Changing Constitution of the International Community,” in W. Benedek, ed., Development and Developing of International and European Law, Essays in Honour of Professor Konrad Ginther on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday 59 (1999).

"The Present State of International Environmental Law: Some Cautionary Observations," 29 Environmental Policy and Law 28 (1999).

“The Legal Mandate of Multilateral Development Banks as Agents for Change toward Sustainable Development,” 92 American Journal of International Law 642 (1998); reprinted in S.A. Bronkhorst, ed., Liability for Environmental Damage and the World Bank' s Chad Cameroon Oil Pipeline Project 62 (2000).

"Regional Arrangements Having Effects on Third State Vessels: Is the Pacta Tertiis Principle Being Modified?" in H. Ringbom, ed., Competing Norms in the Law of Marine Environmental Protection - Focus on Ship Safety and Pollution Prevention 217 (1997).

"Compliance Control Mechanisms and International Environmental Obligations," 5 Tulane Journal of International & Comparative Law 29 (1997).

"Monitoring Implementation of, and Compliance with, the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Other Wastes and Their Disposal," Report for the Secretariat of the Basel Convention on Transboundary Movements of Wastes, Doc. UNEP/SBC, 1995.

"Sustainable Development: General Rules versus Specific Obligations," in W. Lang, ed., Sustainable Development and International Law 35 (1995).

"Nuclear Waste Disposal: International Cooperation and Regulation,” in R. Bernhardt, ed., Encyclopedia of Public International Law (1995).

"Controlling Implementation of and Compliance with International Environmental Law: The Rocky Road from Rio," 5 Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law and Policy 305 (1994).

"International Environmental Law: Promises and Perils of Agenda 21", in Inter-American Development Bank, Agenda 21 and Latin America: The Challenge of Implementing Environmental Law and Policy 51 (1994).

"Towards A Comprehensive System of Compensation of Transboundary Nuclear Damage: Reflections on the Relationship of Civil Liability and States' International Liability," in Nuclear Accidents: Liabilities and Guarantees, Proceedings of the NEA/OECD Symposium, Helsinki, 31 August-3 September 1992, 497 (1993).

"Human Rights and Protection of the Environment: A Mildly Revisionist View," in A. Cançado Trindade, ed., Human Rights and Environmental Protection 117 (1992, 2nd ed. 1995).

"The International Law Commission's Draft Articles on the Law of International Watercourses (General Principles and Planned Measures): Progressive or Retrogressive Development of International Law?," 3 Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law and Policy 123 (1992). 

Remarks ("The Concept of "Sustainable Development" and the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development"), in Contemporary International Law Issues: Sharing Pan-European and American Perspectives, Proceedings of the Joint ASIL/NVIR Symposium, July 4-6, 1991, 39 (1992).

"Das völkerrechtliche Gebot der Gleichbehandlung von Auslandsbewohnern im Atomenergierecht," in N. Pelzer, ed., Deutsches Atomenergierecht im internationalen Rahmen 55 (1992).

"Environmental Security and Global Change: The Challenge to International Law," in 1 Yearbook of International Environmental Law 3 (1990); published also in W. Lang, H. Neuhold & K. Zemanek, eds., Environmental Protection and International Law 59 (1991)

"Paying the Piper for Transboundary Nuclear Damage: State Liability in a System of Transnational Compensation," in D. Magraw, ed., International Law and Pollution 150 (1991).

"Economic Arguments for Certain Accident Compensation Schemes," OECD Doc. ENV/ECO/90.12 (1990). (with Carolyn Cary) "Northwest Passage (Canada-United States) Dispute," in R. Bernhardt, ed., 12 Encyclopedia of Public International Law 264 (1990). "International Measures to Protect the Global Atmosphere: A Case of Too Little, Too Late?" 1 European Journal of International Law 250 (1990).

"International Law and Protection of the Atmosphere," [1989] American Society of International Law, Proceedings 62; reprinted in 71 Economic Impact 36, 1990/2; published also as "La Ley y la Protección de la Atmósfera," in 71 Perspectivas Económicas 36 (1990).

"The 1989 Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste: A Preliminary Assessment," [1989] Proceedings, Canadian Council of International Law 367.

"Internationalization of Hazard Management in Recipient Countries: Accident Preparedness and Response," in G.Handl & R.Lutz, eds., Transferring Hazardous Technology and Substances: The International Legal Challenge 106 (1989).

(with Robert Lutz) "The Transboundary Trade in Hazardous Technologies and Substances from a Policy Perspective," in G.Handl & R.Lutz, eds., Transferring Hazardous Technology and Substances: The International Legal Challenge 40 (1989); also published in 30 Harvard Journal of International Law 351 (1989).

"'Soft Law' and the International Legal Order: Some Preliminary Observations," [1988] American Society of International Law, Proceedings 371.

"Environmental Protection and Development in Third World Countries: Common Destiny - Common Responsibility," 20 New York University Journal of International Law and Politics 603 (1988).

(with Bruno Simma) "Grenzüberschreitende Auswirkungen von Kernkraftanlagen und Völkerrecht," 39 Österreichische Zeitschrift für öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht 1 (1988).

"Après Tchernobyl: Quelques réflexions sur le programme législatif multilatéral à l'ordre du jour," 92 Revue géneral de droit international public 5 (1988); also published as "Transboundary Nuclear Accidents: The Post- Chernobyl Multilateral Legislative Agenda," 15 Ecology Law Quarterly 203 (1988).

"Acid Rain in United States-Canadian Relations: The Politics of Procrastination and International Law," [1987] Proceedings, Canadian Council of International Law 131.

"International Responsibility for Man-Made Disasters," [1987] American Society of International Law, Proceedi ngs. "National Uses of Transboundary Air Resources: The Entitlement Issue Reconsidered," 26 Natural Resources Journal 405 (1986).

"Transboundary Air Resources in North America: Prospects for a Comprehensive Management Regime," in C. Flinterman, B. Kwiatkowska, J. Lammers, eds., Transboundary Air Pollution: International Legal Aspects of the Cooperation of States 63 (1986).

"Liability as an Obligation Established by a Primary Rule of International Law: Some Basic Reflections on the International Law Commission' s Work," 16 Netherlands Yearbook of International Law 49 (1985).

"Some International Legal Implications of the Transfer of Hazardous Technology," [1985] American Society of International Law, Proceedings 318. (with Bruno Simma) "Der österreichisch tschechoslowakische Vertrag über grenznahe Kernanlagen im Lichte des völkerrechtlichen Nachbarrechts," in 40 Juristische Blätter 174 (1985).

"Problems of the Durability of Institutional Controls," (advisory report) published in shortened and modified form in OECD, Nuclear Energy Agency, Long-Term Management of Radioactive Waste: Legal, Administrative and Financial Aspects 35 (1984).

"The Struggle for the Internationally Shared Environment: The United States Abdicates its Leadership Role," [1983] American Society of International Law, Proceedings 418.

"American-Canadian Boundary Disputes and Co-operation," in R. Bernhardt, ed., 6 Encyclopedia of Public International Law, 1 (1983).

"International Liability of States for Marine Pollution," 21 Canadian Yearbook of International Law 85 (1983); also published as "Responsabilità internazionale dello stato per inquinamento marino," in V. Starace, ed., Diritto internazionale e protezione dell' ambiente marino 137 (1983).

"Gut Dam Claims," in R. Bernhardt, ed., 2 Encyclopedia of Public International Law (1981).

"Managing Nuclear Wastes: The International Connection," 21 Natural Resources Journal 267 (1981).

"The Environment: International Rights and Duties," [1980] American Society of International Law, Proceedings 223.

"International Liability of States for Private Activities Causing Transnational Environmental Injury," 74 American Journal of International Law 525 (1980).

"The Principle of "Equitable Use" as Applied to Internationally Shared Natural Resources: Its Role in Resolving Potential International Disputes over Transfrontier Pollution," 14 Revue belge de droit international 40 (1978- 79); also published in OECD, Transfrontier Pollution and the Role of States 98 (1981).

"The Case for Mexican Liability for Transnational Pollution Damage from the IXTOC I Oilspill," 2 Houston Journal of International Law 229 (1979).

"Hazardous Economic Activities in Frontier Areas," OECD Doc. ENV/TFP/78.14 (1978).  

"An International Legal Perspective on Abnormally Dangerous Activities in Frontier Areas: The Case of Nuclear Power Plant Siting," 7 Ecology Law Quarterly 1 (1978). 

"Balancing of Interests and Liability for the Pollution of International Watercourses: Customary Principles of Law Revisited," 13 Canadian Yearbook of International Law 156 (1975); published also as "Interessenausgleich und völkerrechtliche Haftung für die Verunreinigung internationaler Wasserläufe," in W. Posch, ed., Wertung und Interessenausgleich im Recht, Festgabe Walter Wilburg 225 (1975).

"Territorial Sovereignty and the Problem of Transnational Pollution," 69 American Journal of International Law 50 (1975).

Contributions to International Law Reports, vol. 47.  

"Zur Frage der Vereinbarkeit von Rüstungsbeschränkung und dauernder Neutralität," 9 Österreichische Zeitschrift f. Aussenpolitik 211 (1969). 


Book Reviews

E. Morgera, Corporate Accountability in International Environmental Law, in 19 Review of European Community and International Environmental Law 126 (2010).

R. Wolfrum, C. Langenfeld & P. Minnerop, eds., Environmental Liability in International Law – Towards a Coherent Conception, in 16 Review of European Community and International Environmental Law 119 (2007).

P. Birnie & A. Boyle, International Law and the Environment (2d edition, 2002), in 13 Yearbook of International Environmental Law (2003).

H. Somsen, The Yearbook of European Environmental Law, Volume I, in 11 Yearbook of International Environmental Law 793 (2001).

G. Plant, Environmental Protection and the Law of War: A 'Fifth Geneva' Convention on the Environment in Time of Armed Conflict? (1992), in 42 International & Comparative Law Quarterly 976 (1993).

R. Dolzer, K. Kreuzer, P. Kunig, R. Lagoni, W. Lang & H. Schack, Umweltschutz im Völkerrecht und Kollisionsrecht. Berichte der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Völkerrecht, Heft 32 (1992), in 3 Yearbook of International Environmental Law 619 (1992).

D. Schindler and K. Hailbronner, Die Grenzen des völkerrechtlichen Gewaltverbots (1989), in 84 American Journal of International Law 782 (1990).

F. Ermacora, M. Novak & H. Tretter, eds., Die europäische Menschenrechtskonvention in der Rechtsprechung der österreichischen Höchstgerichte (1983), in 80 American Journal of International Law 398 (1986).

H. Neuhold, W. Hummer & C. Schreuer, eds., Österreichisches Handbuch des Völkerrechts (1983), in 80 American Journal of International Law 252 (1986).

R. Lillich, ed., International Law of State Responsibility for Injuries to Aliens (1983); and I. Brownlie, System of the Law of Nations: State Responsibility, Part I (1983), in 18 International Lawyer 748 (1984).

E. Diez et al., eds., Festschrift für Rudolf Bindschedler zum 65. Geburtstag (1980), in 78 American Journal of International Law 678 (1984).

I. von Münch, ed., Festschrift für Hans-Jürgen Schlochauer zum 75. Geburtstag (1981), in 77 American Journal of International Law 685 (1983) M. Kloepfer & C. Kohler, Kernkraftwerk und Staatsgrenze, in 7 Natur und Recht 257 (1982).

A. Verdross, Die immerwährende Neutralität Österreichs, in 74 American Journal of International Law 254 (1980).

M. M'Gonigle& M. Zacher, Pollution, PoliticsandInternational Law: Tankersat Sea, in15TexasJournal of International Law 409 (1980).

V. Starace & C. de Caro, La giurisprudenza costituzionale in materia internazionale, in 73 American Journal of International Law 167 (1979).

M. Silagi, Von Deutsch-Südwest zu Namibia, Wesen und Wandlungen des völkerrechtlichen Mandats, in 73 American Journal of International Law 326 (1979).

F. Pocar, L'esercizio non autorizzato del potere statale in territorio straniero, in 70 American Journal of International Law 193 (1976).

M. Udina, Scritti sulla questione di Trieste, in 21 Österreichische Zeitschrift f. öffentliches Recht 228 (1971).

A. Mössner, Die Völkerrechtspersönlichkeit und die Völkerrechtspraxis der Barbareskenstaaten, in 21 Österreichische Zeitschrift f. öffentliches Recht 223 (1971). 


Managing the Risk of Offshore Oil and Gas Accidents: The International Legal Dimension (co-editor with K. Svendsen) (Edward Elgar Publishing, forthcoming)

Beyond Territoriality: Transnational Legal Authority in an Age of Globalization (co-editor with J. Zekoll & P. Zumbansen) (Brill Publisher, 2012)

Multilateral Development Banking: Environmental Principles and Concepts Reflecting General International Law and Public Policy, (Kluwer International, 2001).

Grenzüberschreitendes nukleares Risiko und völkerrechtlicher Schutzanspruch (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1992).

Transferring Hazardous Technology or Substances: The International Legal Challenge (co-editor with Robert Lutz) (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1989).

Yearbook of International Environmental Law, editor-in-chief, 1990-1997, (Graham & Trotman/Martinus Nijhoff vols. 1-3; Oxford University Press, vols. 4-7).