Academic and international jurist Prof. Alfred H.A. Soons will arrive in Sri Lanka on 2 August on the invitation of the Moragoda International Law Trust.
Prof. Soons, who is an Emeritus Professor of International Law at the University of Utrecht, will attend the 10th International Research Conference of the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (KDU), scheduled for 3 and 4 August and will conduct a series of post-conference lectures and workshops on the ‘Law of the Sea’ at KDU from 8-11 August. The lectures and workshops provide an opportunity to raise awareness and knowledge over the Law of the Sea, being a subject area of particular interest and significance to Sri Lanka and will encourage critical and innovative thinking amongst the attendees comprising a cross section of academics and professionals in the field.
The ‘Moragoda International Law Trust’ was established by Dr. Christopher Walter Pinto, a Sri Lankan lawyer and former diplomat, in 2013 with the objective of the advancement, promotion and furtherance of education and knowledge in the field of International Law with particular emphasis on the sphere of Public International Law.
This workshop marks the fourth consecutive knowledge sharing endeavour organised by the Trustees of the Moragoda International Law Trust, Jacey Trust Services Ltd, the trustee arm of Julius and Creasy, Attorney-at-Law and Notaries Public.
Since 2014, each year a renowned academic in the field of Public International Law has been invited to conduct workshops at KDU as the ‘Moragoda Endowment Professor of Public International Law’. The past invitees of the yearly workshops include Prof. Terry Gill of the University of Amsterdam, a specialist in International Humanitarian Law in August 2014, Prof. Veerle Heyvaert of the London School of Economics who conducted a series of successful workshops on International Environmental Law in August 2015 and Prof. (Dr.) V. Balakista Reddy, Professor of International Law, Coordinator M.K. Nayambar SAARC Law Center and Head of the Center for Air and Space Law, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad in September 2016
After serving in the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps from 1966-1968, Prof. Soons studied law at Utrecht University, the Netherlands, after which he pursued his postgraduate studies in international law at the University of Washington (US) and Cambridge University (UK). He obtained a PhD at Utrecht University with a thesis in the field of the international law of the sea in 1982.
After having served between 1976 and 1987 as a civil servant in various legal and policy positions at the Netherlands’ Ministry of Transport, Water Management and Public Works, he became a Professor of Public International Law and Director of the Netherlands Institute for the Law of the Sea (NILOS) at Utrecht University in 1987. He retired from these positions in 2014.
He was, inter alia, a deputy judge at the Rotterdam District Court, adjunct professor of public international law at Erasmus University Rotterdam, member and chairman of the Advisory Committee on Public International Law of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a founding Co-director of the Rhodes Academy of Oceans Law and Policy, a member of the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law, Honorary Secretary and President of the Royal Netherlands Society of International Law and Director of Studies of the International Law Association.
Currently, he serves as Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council of the Netherlands Defense Academy, is a member of the Advisory Body of Experts on the Law of the Sea of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC/ABE-LOS) and is an Adjunct Professor of International Law at the University of Curaçao. He was elected an associate member of the Institut de Droit International in 2015.
He has consulted on international law issues with several governments and international organisations.
As counsel and arbitrator he has been involved in international litigation at the International Court of Justice and arbitral tribunals. He was, inter alia, counsel to Indonesia in the case with Malaysia before the International Court of Justice (Sovereignty over Pulau Ligitan and Pulau Sipadan), counsel to Suriname in the Annex VII U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) arbitration against Guyana over maritime delimitation, Chairman of two ICC arbitral tribunals, a member of the Arbitral Tribunals in Iron Rhine Railroad (Belgium/Netherlands) and South China Sea (Philippines v. China).