In the early morning hours of 20 April 2020 Professor Jiří Toman succumbed to the COVID-19 in Geneva. The deceased was a renowned expert and pioneer in international human rights law, history of law and international relations associated with the cultural heritage protection.
Jiří Toman was born in Prague in 1938. There he studied law at the Charles University from 1956 to 1961, received his doctorate in 1966 and taught until 1970. After studying at the Institut universitaire de hautes études internationales from 1965 to 1970, he received his doctorate in political science in 1981. From 1969 to 1998, he worked at the Red Cross’ Geneva Henry Dunant Institute, where he held positions ranging from research associate to research director and deputy director to director. From the 1980s onwards, he worked for several international organizations, including UNESCO and UNDRO, the United Nations Disaster Relief Organization. He made significant contributions to the drafting of the Second Protocol to the Hague Convention of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the event of armed conflict. This involvement, as well as his wide-ranging publications, gave him international recognition.
As professor for international human rights law Toman taught at Santa Clara University in California between 1998 and 2018. After ending his activities in California in 2018, he worked exclusively for Danube University Krems as a visiting professor at the Department of Building and Environment, where he was first appointed in 2015. Here, he played a decisive role in the development of the Center for Cultural Property Protection. Danube University Krems was allowed to take over his library on international human rights law, which stands out as one of the most comprehensive specialist libraries worldwide in this field, in order to make it accessible for scientific purposes. His lifetime achievement is not only carried on through university-based teaching and research, but was also implemented in numerous legal grounds with international ramifications.
With Jiří Toman, we are losing an extremely kind and highly respected colleague. We would like to keep him and all his achievements in honorable memory.