On this day, the birthday of the 1954 Hague Convention for the protection of cultural property, Blue Shield International pays its utmost respect to Professor Jiří Toman, who died at the age of 81 at the end of April in Geneva. Professor Toman was a renowned expert in cultural heritage protection, writing some of the first and still definitive commentaries of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. His colleagues called him a “pioneer” in advancing out understanding of the Convention and its Protocols. He was also an expert in international human rights law, history of law and international relations.

Professor Peter Stone, Vice-President of Blue Shield International, said

Jiri Toman was a major figure in the efforts to promote the importance of the protection of cultural property during armed conflict and his commentary on the 1954 Hague Convention was, for many years, The Bible. He was also a lovely, self-effacing, and kind man. Our community was enriched by his presence, and diminished by his passing. We must not fail to continue the work he did so much to start.

Professor Toman was born in 1938 in Prague, Czech Republic and served as a Director of the Henry Dunant Institute, the research, information and training center of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in Geneva, which he joined in 1969, first as a research fellow and then in various management positions, ultimately serving as its Director from 1992-1998. He also worked as a consultant for UNESCO, the UN Disaster Relief Organisation (UNDRO). From 1998 to 2018, he was Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Santa Clara in the United States of America, subsequently served as a visiting professor at the Danube University Krems. He was Knight of Honor of the Order of St. George of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine.

  • You can access a digital copy of Professor Jiri Toman’s commentary Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict online. The book explores the drafting of, and the meaning behind, various cultural property protection legislation, with particular focus on the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.
  • Professor Toman’s second monograph, Cultural property in war: improvement in protection; commentary on the 1999 Second Protocol to the Hague Convention of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict) is available via UNESCO.

Read tributes paid to Professor Toman by UNESCO, where he was a long-standing expert consultant,

and by his colleagues at Danube University Krems, where he was a visiting professor

 

Learn more about cultural property protection legislation in our law library

And download other articles and books on CPP law in our document library