Wolfgang Kaleck founded the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) together with other internationally renowned lawyers in Berlin in 2007. Wolfgang Kaleck has served as General Secretary of the organization since its foundation.
Kaleck previously worked as a criminal law attorney at law firm Hummel.Kaleck.Rechtsanwälte, which he co-founded in 1991. Since 1998 he has been an advocate for the Koalition gegen Straflosigkeit (Coalition against Impunity) which fights to hold Argentinian military officials accountable for the murder and disappearance of German citizens during the Argentine dictatorship. Between 2004 and 2008, he worked with the New York Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) to pursue criminal proceedings against members of the US military, including former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
Kaleck is a member of the Centre of European Law and Politics at the University of Bremen (ZERP), the Forum for International and Criminal and Humanitarian Law (FICHL), the lawyers collective CCAJAR in Colombia and Mexican non-governmental organization ProDESC as well as a board member of the Paul Grueninger Foundation.
For his work as lawyer and founder of ECCHR, Wolfgang Kaleck has been honored with multiple awards:
- 2014: Hermann Kesten Award of the PEN Zentrum Deutschland
- 2016: Hans Litten Prize of the Association of Democratic Lawyers (Vereinigung Demokratischer Juristinnen und Juristen – VDJ) together with Dr Miriam Saage-Maaß
- 2017: honorary prize for services to human rights by the Bruno Kreisky Stiftung
- 2018: Max Friedlaender Prize of the Bavarian Lawyer's Association (Bayerischer Anwaltverband)
- 2019: Bassiouni Justice Award of the Centre for International Law Research and Policy