In memoriam James Crawford

His family, friends and the world of international law have been deeply saddened by the news of James Crawford’s passing.

For The Hague Academy of International Law this loss is particularly painful because it marks the loss of a very dear friend of the Academy – of which it is in great need – and of a very strong supporter of its work.

We have all learned a great deal from James Crawford by reading his numerous and rich writings, by associating his name with a multitude of issues of international law (and not just the issue of responsibility), by consulting his skilful and subtle pleadings, and by admiring the momentum he managed to give to the subjects he addressed.

The Academy has benefited amply from this exceptionally fertile intellect, most notably when he delivered the General Course in summer 2013. I was struck while attending that course by the unprecedented popularity of James Crawford among students, those from Cambridge or Australia, who came in large numbers, as well as those from the rest of the world. They testified to the fact that he was most certainly the best known of all the international law professors from around the world, which these students represented.

He joined the Curatorium of the Academy in 1999 and was part of the selection committee that proposed my name to the Curatorium to succeed Geneviève Bastid-Burdeau as Secretary-General of the Academy. I remember the serious yet friendly character of a preliminary meeting I had with him. That day, I had the impression that, from my side, a friendship was born. It has never left me since.

Within the Curatorium he was loved and respected by all, who had a sincere admiration for him. The best proof of this was the attendance of all the members, dressed in their university robes, to the awarding of the Doctorate Honoris Causa that the Sorbonne had granted him.

In the Curatorium, his interventions were limited in number and length. A few brief sentences revealed an uncommon capacity for synthesis and an exceptional ability to persuade a group. In all these years I have never seen a single one of his proposals rejected nor any of his objections neglected. His contribution was decisive. A tireless worker, and despite his many engagements, he awarded meticulous attention to everything that concerned the Academy.

Today, The Hague Academy of International Law can only offer in his memory a very modest and insufficient expression of the gratitude it owes him, and will continue to owe him for a long time.

Professor Yves Daudet
President of the Curatorium