Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Jon Van Dyke, a constitutional and international law scholar from the University of Hawai'i School of Law, has died unexpectedly in Australia. He was expected to deliver the keynote address at a conference in Melbourne. Professor Van Dyke was an expert on the law of the sea and on islands. He was also a strong advocate for the natives of Hawai'i.
His publications included a casebook on "International Law and Litigation in the United States." One of the co-editors of that book was Professor Jordan Paust, who wrote that Jon "stood tall for human dignity."
We extend our deep sympathy to his family and friends, to the faculty and students of the University of Hawai'i School of Law, and to the many colleagues who knew what a wonderful man he was.
We thank his former student, Professor Kim Chanbonpin, for passing along the news to us.
Ruth Wedgwood, President of the American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA), sent out this message about Professor Van Dyke:
Jon van Dyke, who died on November 29, was a unique figure in our common profession -- known as a pioneer in defending and explaining the rights and claims of native Hawai'ians under international and American law.
Jon was the ABILA's representative to the London ILA Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He joined the faculty of the University of Hawai'i in 1976, teaching constitutional law, international law, international oceans law, and international human rights. He was a law clerk for the celebrated Chief Justice Roger Traynor of the California Supreme Court and a visiting fellow at the Center for Democratic Institutions in Santa Barbara, California. He served as the Hawai'i law school's associate dean, directed the Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace, and was a fellow at the East-West Center.
His books include Sharing the Resources of the South China Sea, Who Owns the Crown Lands of Hawai`i?, International Law and Litigation in the U.S. - Consensus and Confrontation, The United States and the Law of the Sea Convention, International Navigation: Rocks and Shoals Ahead? , Freedom for the Seas in the 21st Century, Updating International Nuclear Law, Maritime Boundary Disputes, Settlement Processes, and The Law of the Sea. Jon was a Visiting Professor at the University of California at Berkeley in Spring 2011.
Alongside his scholarship, the tributes to Jon note his larger-than-life role as a voice for native Hawai'ians, and as a champion for human rights and the preservation of the oceans. He was a towering figure within the islands and beyond.