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Life and service of LI Haopei

LI Haopei was born in Shanghai on 6 July 1906 and passed away in The Hague on 6 November 1997.

He obtained an LL.B. degree from Soochow University, Comparative Law School, in 1928. He was at the Chinese Government Institute for the Training of Higher Judicial Officers in 1935, and undertook advanced studies in public and private international law at London School of Economics and Political Science, London University, 1936-1939.

LI Haopei was Professor of International Law and Head of the Faculty of Law, National Wuhan University (1939-1945); Professor of International Law and Dean of the Law School, National Zhejiang University (1945-1949); Expert Commissioner, National Law Commission of China (1949-1956); Professor of International Law, Institute of Foreign Relations (1956-1963); Legal Adviser, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China (1963-1993); Part-time Professor of International Law, Peking University; Lecturer, Hague Academy of International Law (1990); and Arbitrator, Permanent Court of Arbitration (1993-1997).

He was a member of the Chinese delegation to the Asian Legal Consultative Committee, Damascus (1956); Asian African Legal Consultative Committee (1981, 1985); United Nations Conference on the Law of Treaties between States and International Organizations or between International Organizations, Vienna (1986); Working Group of the Hague Conference on Private International Law on the Drafting of a convention on recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments (1992); Institute of International Law (1985-1997); Executive Council, Chinese Society of International Law (1985-1997); and the Executive Council, China Law Society (1990-1997).

LI Haopei's principal publications include the following books: Introduction to Private International Law (1945), The Law of Nationality: A Comparative Study (1979), The Law of Treaties (1988), The Concept and Sources of International Law (1994), and The Law of International Civil Procedure (1996). He published numerous articles.

His translations into Chinese include The Judgment of the Nuremberg Military Tribunal (from English), 1955; Napoleonic Code (French Civil Law) (from French), 1979; A. Verdross, International Law (from German), 1981; and Martin Wolff, Private International Law (from English), 1988.

Upon learning of the death of Judge LI, the late President of the ICTY, Judge Antonio Cassese, expressed his 'deep sorrow at the loss of a wonderful colleague whose contribution to the work of the Tribunal, and more specifically of the Appeals Chamber, has been invaluable. Judge Li was an extremely wise and perceptive Judge as well as a scholar with an unparalleled experience of international law. Judge Li was a kind and gentle person, respected by his colleagues for his enlightening views and admired for his strong belief in the cause of justice'.

Former ICJ and ICTY Judge, Mohamed Shahabuddeen, stated: 'Judge Li brought a whole lifetime of experience, knowledge and wisdom to the work of the Tribunal. It was instructive to listen to him and to hear his opinions. Like so many others, I have learnt much from him. ... I shall retain the memory of a wonderful human being'.

ZHU Manli, Chinese Ambassador to the Netherlands, highlighted how LI Haopei's 'academic accomplishment, dedication and high moral integrity won [him] high admiration', mentioning how '[h]is wisdom and tenacity was widely applauded': 'H.E. Judge Li Haopei will always live in our fond memory'.

Late Judge WANG Tieya remarked on the occasion of LI Haopei's passing: 'The Chinese international law community lost a great scholar of no equal in his time, whose death was like a giant star falling from the sky'. You can read WANG's statement 'My Friend LI Haopei' here.

For the curriculum vitae of Judge LI Haopei in Chinese, please see here.


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