The European Court of Justice, which sits at Luxembourg, comprises a panel of 15 judges, one from each EU nation, assisted by nine advocates- general. The court decides cases referred from courts of the member states which require a ruling on the compatiblity of national legislation with EU law.
Ioannou was born in Thessaloniki and lived and worked there until his appointment to Luxembourg. He was called to the bar of Thessaloniki in 1963 and after taking his doctorate in international law in 1971 at the University of Thessaloniki, he moved to the University of Thrace, where he was successively a law lecturer, Professor of International and European Community Law, Dean of the Law Faculty and Vice-Chancellor.
He wrote extensively on international law and European law; over 100 articles have appeared in legal periodicals, and among his many books are An Introduction to International Justice (in Greek, with S. Parrakis, 1984) and The War in the Gulf and International Law (Greek, 1992), as well as a number in French and English.
He held several visiting professorships in the United States, and served as legal adviser to the Greek foreign ministry. In 1983 he became a member of the Greek delegation to the United Nations General Assembly. From 1989 to 1992 he was chairman of the committee of experts charged with improving the Council of Europe's Human Rights Convention. He was also a member of the Court of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
As a boy, Ioannou had experienced life under a brutal occupying power and had lived, as a young man, through what he felt to be the national ignominy of the dictatorship of the Colonels. It was natural that his deepest interest was in the field of human rights, about which he could speak with sudden passion.
Without sacrificing his loyalty to Greece, he was acutely conscious of the need to find a solution to ancient conflicts and enmities in the Balkans which would be acceptable in political, but more particularly in human, terms. He still had much to contribute.
Krateros Ioannou, judge: born Thessaloniki, Greece 3 June 1935; Law Lecturer, University of Thrace 1974-77, Professor of International and European Community Law 1977-99, Vice-Chancellor 1988-91; Judge of the Court of Justice of the European Communities 1997-99; married Katerina Floran (one stepdaughter); died New York 10 March 1999.