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Igor Pavlovich Blishchenko - 1930-2000

30-09-2001 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 843

We were shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the unexpected passing away of Professor Igor Pavlovich Blishchenko, Doctor of Laws, Member of the International Academy of Higher Education and honoured with several official Russian Federation and international awards, including that of “Emeritus Scientist of Russia”, for his outstanding contribution to the study of international law.

Professor Blishchenko was renowned as a leading expert in international law and particularly the law of armed conflict, not only in his home country Russia but also on all five continents of the world. He was the author of over four hundred works centred on problems of international humanitarian law, which have been published both in Russia and abroad. Particularly interested in the relationship between international humanitarian law and other branches of international law, he lectured and wrote extensively on subjects such as problems of disarmament and international law, human rights law, international criminal law, terrorism and international law, international law and municipal law, and the pacific settlement of international disputes. His writings in these fields made a significant contribution to the understanding and interpretation of international law, and especially international humanitarian law. His works include: Armed Conflict and International Law ( 1971 ), Non-International Armed Conflict and International Law ( 1973 ), The Red Cross and International Humanitarian Law ( 1977 ), Conventional Weapons and International Law ( 1984 ), International Humanitarian Law ( 1986 ), The Idea of an International Criminal Court ( 1994 ), Additional Protocol II on Non-International Armed Conflict and the Problem of Refugees ( 1998 ), and Precedents in Public and Private International Law ( 1999 ).  

Professor Blishchenko devoted more than forty years of his life to fruitful academic activity and research at various Soviet and Russian law schools (inter alia as Professor and Vice-Rector of the School of Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union, Professor of the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union, and for the last twenty years as Head of the Chair of International Law of the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia in Moscow). He was Visiting Professor of International Law at numerous universities, law schools and research centres in many countries (Switzerland, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, USA, Japan, Hungary, Greece, Egypt, Angola, Austria and others).

His academic activities were always closely interlinked with practical work. Professor Blishchenko was an expert consultant of the Parliament of the Soviet Union, the Parliament of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR and of Russia, as well as member or chairman of various official Soviet and Russian delegations to international conferences and symposiums and to sessions and working groups of many international organizations. He was expert consultant of the United Nations on problems of international humanitarian law, disarmament, and the prohibition of and restrictions on the use of certain conventional weapons. He was chairman of the Soviet delegation to the International Congress of Paris on the prevention of genocide, representative of the Sov iet Union to the UN Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, and a member of the Soviet delegation to the Diplomatic Conference on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law which, working in four sessions from 1974 to 1977, prepared the two Additional Protocols to the 1949 Geneva Conventions on the protection of war victims.

Professor Blishchenko was among the distinguished members of the authoritative Independent Bureau for Humanitarian Issues, together with Mohamed Bedjaoui, Judge of the International Court of Justice, Pierre Graber, former President of the Swiss Confederation, and many other eminent public figures, which prepared numerous research studies, including one on “The implementation of international humanitarian law”.

Igor Blishchenko was a wonderful person, a talented diplomat and a brilliant law professor and scholar, beloved by his colleagues and pupils all over the world.

He died in Moscow on 9 August 2000 at the age of 70. We wish to convey to his wife and his family our sincere condolences (as three of his many pupils all over the world) and those of the entire academic world of law.

 Jose Doria  

Legal Advisor, Office of the Prosecutor

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

The Hague


 Aslan Khuseinovich Abashidze  

Professor of Law

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia



 Vassily Fyodorovich Poriouvaev  

Legal Advisor, Office of the Prosecutor

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

The Hague