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On death of Vladimír Kopal


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic announces with deep sorrow that Professor Vladimír Kopal, a leading Czech expert on international law who cooperated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic for many years, passed away suddenly on 27 January 2014.

Professor Kopal (*1928) devoted his academic and professional career to the promotion of international law, namely law of the sea and space law. He was a long-time delegate of Czechoslovakia and of the Czech Republic to the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and its subcommittees; from 1999 to 2003 and between 2008 and 2009 he chaired the COPUOS Legal Subcommittee. Professor Kopal was Czechoslovakia’s delegate at the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea and served as conciliator and arbitrator under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. During the 1980’s, Professor Kopal was Secretary to the COPUOS Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, and from 1983 to 1988 he served as Chief of the United Nations Outer Space Affairs Division. He also held different positions in academic and non-governmental organizations and institutions dealing with space law, such as the International Astronautical Federation, the International Institute of Space Law or the Commission on Astronautics of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. Professor Kopal received several national and international awards for his dedication to the development of international cooperation in space activities for peaceful purposes.