Dr. Abdelrazeg El Murtadi Suleiman, a remarkable individual hailing from the vibrant land of Al-gegab, Libya, has left an indelible mark on the world stage. Born into the esteemed Al Abidat tribe, one of Libya’s largest tribes, Abdelrazeg’s journey of intellectual pursuits and legal expertise is nothing short of captivating. His academic odyssey commenced at the prestigious University of Benghazi, Libya, where he earned his LLB in 1968. Driven by an insatiable thirst for knowledge, he ventured to the University of Grenoble, France, and obtained a Master of Law in 1971, followed by a Ph.D. from the renowned University of Paris I/Sorbonne in 1976.
Abdelrazeg’s profound impact on legal education is evidenced by his extensive teaching career spanning over three decades, from 1976 to 2007. He enlightened eager minds at esteemed institutions such as the University of Benghazi, the University of Tripoli, and the Academy of Security Science in Tripoli. With unwavering dedication, he imparted his expertise on subjects ranging from Public International Law and Petroleum Law to Private International Law and Diplomatic Law.
Not only was Abdelrazeg a paragon of knowledge, but he also played a pivotal role in shaping the academic landscape. As the head and member of various committees, he assessed research papers, supervised theses, and provided invaluable insights on academic matters. His wisdom extended far beyond the confines of the classroom, as he passionately participated in domestic and international academic gatherings. From esteemed institutions like Harvard and NYU universities to conferences in Europe, Africa, and Asia, Abdelrazeg actively contributed to discussions on pressing issues of international law, including human rights, sanctions, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, remnants of wars, and international arbitration.
Leadership ran through Abdelrazeg’s veins as he spearheaded numerous committees and boards in Libya. His notable roles included heading the Continental Shelf Committee, the Drafting Committee of Maritime Areas Law, the Maritime and Land Boundaries Committee, the Petroleum Law Review and Drafting Committee, and the Petroleum Taxation Committee. His influence extended beyond legal matters, as he lent his expertise to esteemed institutions such as the Libyan Central Bank, the Board of Foreign Investments, and the Drafting Committee of the Libyan Constitution.
Abdelrazeg’s impact reverberated on the global stage with his involvement in high-stakes international cases. As Libya’s Agent and Counsel before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), he demonstrated his legal acumen. Notably, he served as Libya’s Agent before the ICJ in the pivotal Case Concerning the Continental Shelf (Libya v. Malta) and successfully defended Libya’s interests. His expertise was sought after beyond his homeland, as he served as a legal expert for the Organization of African Unity (OAU), resolving the Chad-Libya boundary dispute and contributing to the drafting of the African Union Constitutive Act.
His unwavering commitment to justice was further exemplified by his role as a legal adviser and consultant. He provided his insights to Libyan ministries on international and regional organizations, the law of the sea, diplomatic immunity, international humanitarian law, and international economic matters. His expertise extended to international arbitration cases, where he served as Counsel for Libya and the Libyan National Oil Corporation.
The breadth of Abdelrazeg’s knowledge and influence was captured in his published works. His books, housed in esteemed libraries worldwide, delve into topics such as Libyan petroleum legislation, legal entities in private international relations, and the issue of the continental shelf between the Jamahiriya and Malta.
Beyond his professional endeavors, Abdelrazeg also engaged with global bodies and made his presence felt at the United Nations General Assembly. He represented Libya as a member of delegations and served as the Libyan Representative to the Sixth Committee (Legal Committee). His dedication to international law was further recognized by his election to the UN International Law Commission, where he served as a member from 2011 to 2016.
On June 7, 2021, the world bid farewell to this exceptional legal luminary as Abdelrazeg passed away in London, United Kingdom. His legacy lives on through his wife and four children, who continue to cherish his memory and carry forward his remarkable contributions.
Abdelrazeg’s extraordinary journey through academia, international legal battles, and global diplomacy is a testament to the power of passion, knowledge, and unwavering commitment. His life story serves as an inspiration for generations to come, a reminder that a single individual, driven by dedication and expertise, can shape the course of history.