Thomas J. Buergenthal—a Holocaust survivor; a ground-breaking scholar, teacher, and mentor; and a practitioner who scaled the heights of his profession—died at his home in Miami on May 29, 2023. This In Memoriam briefly notes his remarkable life and professional accomplishments, including his youth spent in Nazi concentration camps and his service as a Judge of the International Court of Justice.
When reflecting on his life-long pursuit of robust and effective human rights, Judge Buergenthal understood that, despite great progress in the field of human rights, much remained to be done, and that sadly many atrocities continued across the globe. Yet he urged others to turn away from cynicism. “The task ahead is to strengthen these tools, not to despair, and to never believe that mankind is incapable of creating a world in which our grandchildren and their descendants can live in peace and enjoy the human rights that were denied to so many of my generation.” Through his extraordinary accomplishments, Tom Buergenthal played his part in creating such a world.
GW Paper Series
Murphy, Sean D., In Memoriam Thomas J. Buergenthal (1934-2023), American Journal of International Law, vol. 117 (forthcoming 2023).