UNESCO expresses its deep regret at the passing of Professor Jiři Toman, a well-known expert in international humanitarian law, legal history and international relations, on 20 April 2020 in Geneva. His engagement with UNESCO was longstanding, notably in the context of the protection of cultural property in times of armed conflict.
Professor Toman was born in 1938 in Prague, Czech Republic and served as a Director of the Henry Dunant Institute in Geneva, which he joined in 1969, first as a research fellow and then in various management positions. From 1998 to 2018, he was Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Santa Clara in the United States of America.
Professor Toman made an outstanding contribution to the field of international law, including to the subject of the protection of cultural property in times of armed conflict. He authored numerous works on international humanitarian law, human rights law, law of armed conflict and international criminal law. In particular, his legal commentaries on the UNESCO Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict of 1954, and its 1999 Second Protocol, continue to guide researchers, policy makers, as well as all those interested in the protection of culture. He participated in many UNESCO meetings concerning the 1954 Convention and its Protocols, and was well known among and admired by UNESCO’s staff.
Ernesto Ottone R., UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture, expressed his condolences, noting that “With the passing of Jiří Toman, the UNESCO family has lost a highly respected expert in the field of international law. We keep him in our memories, and know that his legacy will live on.”