Shigeru Oda

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Shigeru Oda ( Japanese 小田 滋 , Oda Shigeru ; born  October 22, 1924 in Sapporo ) is a Japanese lawyer . From 1963 to 1976 he was professor of international law at Tōhoku University . He then worked from 1976 to 2003 as a judge at the International Court of Justice , of which he was vice-president from 1991 to 1994.


Shigeru Oda, who was trained as a kamikaze pilot during World War II , graduated from Tokyo University in 1947 with a law degree . Then he went the first Japanese student since the war to Yale University , where he became a student of Myres S. McDougal was six years later with a thesis on The Riches of the Sea and International Law doctorate . From 1953 to 1959 he was an associate professor and then until 1976 full professor of international law at Tōhoku University in Sendai . In 1969 and 1993 he taught at the Hague Academy for International Law , of which he has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 1987. From 1976 to 2003 he served for three full terms of office of nine years each as a judge at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), thus attaining one of the longest terms in the court's history. During that time he was Vice President of the Court from 1991 to 1994.

The main focus of his academic and practical work was the law of the sea . For example, he represented his home country between 1958 and 1975 as a delegate at the first three United Nations (UN) law of the sea conferences and from 1968 to 1973 in the UN Committee for the Peaceful Usage of the Ocean Floor . In 1967 and 1968 he was legal advisor to the German federal government in the negotiations before the IGH on the German portion of the continental shelf in the North Sea .


The University of Bhopal (1980) and the New York Law School (1981) awarded Shigeru Oda an honorary doctorate . He has been a member of the Institut de Droit international since 1969 and an honorary member of the American Society for International Law since 1975 . In 2007 he was honored as a person with special cultural merits , in 2012 he was awarded the Order of Culture .

Works (selection)

  • The International Law of the Ocean Development. Two volumes. Leiden 1972 and 1974. Supplementary loose-leaf collection from 1978
  • Practice of Japan in International Law. 1961-1970. Tokyo 1982
  • International Control of Sea Resources. Dordrecht 1989
  • Fifty Years of the Law of the Sea: With a Special Section on the International Courts of Justice. The Hague 2003


  • Biographical Note: Shigeru Oda, Judge of the International Court of Justice. In: Recueil Des Cours. Collected Courses of the Hague Academy of International Law. Volume 244/1933. Published by the Hague Academy for International Law, Nijhoff, Dordrecht 1995, ISBN 9-04-110087-3 , pp. 17-20 (biographical and bibliographical information).
  • Shigeru Oda. In: Arthur Eyffinger, Arthur Witteveen, Mohammed Bedjaoui : La Cour internationale de Justice 1946–1996. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, The Hague and London 1999, ISBN 9-04-110468-2 , p. 313.
  • Edward McWhinney : Judge Shigeru Oda and the Progressive Development of International Law: Opinions (Declarations, Separate Opinions, Dissents) on the International Court of Justice, 1976-1992. Nijhoff, Dordrecht 1993, ISBN 0-79-232257-6 .
  • Edward McWhinney, Mariko Kawano: Judge Shigeru Oda and the Path to Judicial Wisdom: Opinions (Declarations, Separate Opinions, Dissenting Opinions) on the International Court of Justice, 1993-2003. Nijhoff, Leiden 2006, ISBN 9-00-414339-4 .
  • Michael Reisman: Judge Shigeru Oda: A Tribute to an International Treasure . In: Leiden Journal of International Law . 16/2003, ISSN  0922-1565 , pp. 57-65.