Torkel Opsahl, (1931 – 1993) Professor of constitutional and international law, University of Oslo from 1965. Member of the European Human Rights Commission between 1970 and 1984. At the same time, from 1977 to 1986, member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee.
Torkel Opsahl worked, together with Jan Helgesen and Asbjørn Eide, for a number of years in order to establish a Norwegian Institute for Human Rights, and became the founding Chairman of the Institute’s Board of Directors when it was established in 1987. He took part in two UN missions to prisoner-of-war camps in Iran and Iraq, in 1985 and 1988. From 1992 to 1993 he chaired an independent commission on Northern Ireland. Based on extensive hearings among northern Irish citizens the commission issued a number of recommendations that had a significant influence on political developments in Northern Ireland.
At the time of his death he chaired an international expert commission assigned by the UN Secretary General to investigate war crimes in the former Yugoslavia.
Literature: A compilation, spanning a period of more than three decades, of Opsahls writing is available in English: Law and Equality, Selected Articles on Human Rights, AdNotam Gyldendal 1996.