Professor Djamchid Momtaz
Author of more than 90 publications including books, chapters in edited works, articles in journals and yearbooks, professor emeritus of University of Tehran and legal advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Professor Momtaz holds membership at prominent institutions such as Institut de droit international, Curatorium of the Hague Academy of International Law, Permanent Court of Arbitration and Commission for the Settlement of Disputes related to Confidentiality of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). He is also among the very few to have been offered Neshan-e Danesh (National Medal of Knowledge) in Iran and Officier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques, in France, both in 2005.
Born on 18 June, 1942, in Izmir, Turkey, to a family of diplomats, his father and grandfather having served as Iran’s ambassador and consular agent to different countries including Russia, France, Turkey and Egypt, Professor Momtaz had an early model on mind in his early years; his grandfather was a member of the Iranian delegation during the two landmark conferences held at the Hague in 1899 and 1907, leading the Iranian delegation during the second Conference, what influenced him in later years to choose international law as his academic major and career.
Once on a mission to Egypt with his family at the age of 6, he was sent to a French-speaking school until the third grade. He later continued his high school studies in France. Upon graduation from high school in 1961, highly impressed by the passion running in the family, he had no doubt to choose law as his major. He got admitted into the Faculty of Law and Economics, University of Paris, wherefrom he graduated in 1966 with a degree in Public Law. He then went for a Diploma at the Institut d’études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) in 1968. In 1971, he graduated with a Doctorate (Doctorat d’Etat) in Public Law from the University of Law, Economics and Social Sciences, Paris II.
Starting his career as Assistant Professor in University of Paris X (Nanterre) in 1968 changed the course of his life and made him find the all-time passion of his life: teaching!
Following the completion of his thesis entitled “The Legal Regime of the Seabed and Ocean Floor beyond the Limits of National Jurisdiction” in 1971, he kept teaching at the University of Paris X before returning to Iran to pursue his desire and assist the Iranian delegation at the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea from second to eleventh sessions (1974 – 1982) and the Preparatory Commission for the International Sea-bed Authority and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea from 1984 until 1993 in which he had an active participation.
Meanwhile, he held teaching courses at home and abroad since 1969 onwards at different institutions namely Institut des Hautes Etudes Internationales de Paris, University of Law, Economics and Social Sciences, Paris II, University of Paris X (Paris Ouest Nanterre, La Defense), University of Grenoble II (Mendes-France), University of Paris XI (Jean Monnet), University of Paris XIII (Villetaneuse), University of Caen (Basse-Normandie), University of Paris I (Panthéon-Sorbonne), University of Rouen, University Paul Cézanne, Aix-Marseille III, University of Paris II (Panthéon-Assas), University of Rouen (Haute Normandie), University Aix-Marseille III (Paul Cézanne) and Institut d’études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) Law School.
Presenting lectures in various forums has spanned three continents and swept Professor Momtaz’s most favorable fields of study namely international humanitarian law, international human rights law, law of the sea and international criminal law. These forums include the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Faculty of Law, University of Stockholm, Inter-University of Centre of Postgraduate Studies, Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia, International Institute of Humanitarian Law, San Remo, Italy, Institute of International Public Law and International Relations, Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece, Universidad del Rosario, Bogota, Colombia, Universidad of Nicaragua, Managua, Centre for International Legal Studies School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, UNITAR, The Hague, Universidad de Cordoba, Spain, United Regional Courses on International Law, Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia and Institut international des droits de l’homme, Strasbourg, France.
He has also been given the mandate of promoting the study of international law in Iran on different occasions including on election as the director of the Center for International Studies as well as the head of the Human Rights Department of the Faculty of Law and Political Science respectively in 1978 and 2004.
Above all, perhaps the most enlightening part of Professor Momtaz’s teaching career can be singled out as his lessons given at the Hague Academy of International Law once for the specialized course in 2000 on international humanitarian law applicable to non-international armed conflicts and once as the instructor of the general course in 2014 on the topic of ranking of international legal order.
Finally, his membership in scientific societies can be seen as an ever-present quality inherent in his academic activities. These include his past and present membership to the Société française pour le droit international, Committee on Maritime Neutrality of the International Law Association, International Council of Environmental Law, Board of Editors of the Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law at the Asser Institute, Editorial Board of the Asian Journal of International Law, Comité Cientifico, Anuario Colombiano de Diretto Internacional, Advisory Board of the Iranian Journal of International Affairs, International Institute of Humanitarian Law (San Remo), Institute of International Public Law and International Relations (Thessaloniki) and Scientific Council of the Review Collection “Espaces et Ressources maritimes”, published by the Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches sur le droit des activités maritimes, Institut du Droit de la paix et du développement, Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis, France.
Living a prolific academic life is not all about Professor Djamchid Momtaz since he has always endeavored to bring his knowledge into practice by getting involved in diplomatic mandates assigned to him whether internationally or at the instructions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran. These include his active and pivotal participation in prominent expert groups such as the expert group on “Humanitarian Law applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea” by the International Institute of Humanitarian Law in order to implement the Plan of Action on the Promotion of the Law of Armed Conflicts at Sea in San Remo, Geneva and Livorno in 1993 and 1994 and the Committee of Legal Experts on National Implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention at De Paul University, College of Law, in Chicago, Illinois and The Hague in 1994. He has also been vigorously involved in the Intergovernmental Group of Experts to study Practical Means of Promoting Full Respect of International Humanitarian Law and Compliance with that Law in Geneva, 1995 and the Process for the Delimitation of Maritime Boundaries at the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations in April 1999.
Participation in the expert group on “Humanitarian Protection in Non-International Armed Conflicts” at the International Institute of Humanitarian Law in San Remo, Italy in 1999 and the “Intergovernmental Experts Group to draft the Convention on the Protection of the underwater cultural Heritage” at the UNESCO, in 2000, Paris, and the Joint United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) during the Experts Seminar on Human Rights and the Environment in January 2002, Geneva, are also outstanding in Professor Momtaz’s diplomatic career.
More particularly on international humanitarian law, Professor Momtaz’s expertise has been used by the International Committee of the Red Cross once through his membership in the Group of International Advisors from 2003 to 2007 and also for ICRC’s milestone achievement: Study on International Customary Law, to which Professor Momtaz contributed as the Member of the Steering Committee from 1996 until 2004.
Member of the International Law Commission from 2000 to 2006, and its Chairman in 2005, Professor Momtaz has had the experience of acting as the Counsel and Advocate of the Islamic Republic of Iran before the International Court of Justice (I.C.J.) on the occasion of the Advisory Opinion: Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons in Armed Conflicts in 1995. Similarly and playing the same role, he assisted the Iranian delegation at the Case Concerning Oil Platforms (Islamic Republic of Iran v. United States of America) at the International Court of Justice in 2003. He has also advised the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on international law issues discussed yearly at the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly, actively participating thereat from the 44th to 67th session.
Likewise, as the member of the Iranian delegation at annual sessions of the Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee, Professor Momtaz has actively participated in sessions held in Tehran, 1974, Cairo 2000, Abuja 2002, Seoul 2003, Bali 2004, Nairobi 2005, New-Delhi 2006, Cap Town 2007, New-Delhi 2008, Kuala-Lumpur 2009, Dar el Salam 2010, Colombo 2011, Abuja 2012, Tehran 2014 and Beijing 2015.
Also noteworthy is professor Momtaz's key role in Iran-Iraq peace talks held in 1988 and 1989, active participation at the International Conference for the Protection of War Victims in Geneva, 1993 and participation in the fourth session of the Preparatory Commission for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons at the Hague, in 1993, the second and sixth sessions of the United Nations Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks held in New-York respectively in 1993 and 1996, United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court, Rome, in 1998, the 2010 Review Conference of the Statute of the International Criminal Court in Kampala, Uganda and the Consultation Meeting on the Red Cross and Red Crescent Emblem in 1999, Geneva.