Dr. Dr. h.c. Hans-Joachim Jentsch was born in 1937 in the town of Fürstenwalde, near Berlin. Since his admission to the practise of law and his doctorate in 1966, he has had a broad range of experience, including as a practising attorney and notary in Wiesbaden. He is also distinguished by his political experience at the state, federal, and local levels. His dissertation, defended at the University of Marburg, concerned summary executions in international law. He spent six years in the Bundestag from 1976-1982, and three years in the state legislature of Hessen (1987-90). He was mayor of Wiesbaden from 1982-1985. He became Minister of Justice in the newly-formed state of Thüringen right after the reunification in 1990, and became a member of the constitutional court of Thüringen in 1995. He was appointed to the Second Senat of the Federal Constitutional Court in 1996. In 2002, he received an honorary doctorate in law from the University of Jena, in the state of Thüringen.

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