The McGill University Flag will be lowered, on April 27,
in memory of Ivan A. Vlasic, Professor Emeritus, Institute of Air
& Space Law.
We have received many testimonials and have started
publishing them on the IASL website: www.mcgill.ca/iasl/press/ivanvlasic.
The Faculty of Law mourns Professor Emeritus Ivan A.
Vlasic, LLM'55, who passed away on Wednesday, April 20,
2011. He was 84.
Born in Italy on July 29, 1926, Ivan Vlasic fought in the
resistance against Nazi occupation and was a decorated World War II
veteran of the Yugoslav partisan army. After earning an
undergraduate degree in Yugoslavia, he came to Canada to study law
at McGill University. He then earned a PhD from Yale Law School and
taught in Florida and Ottawa. He joined McGill's Faculty of Law in
1963 and retired 33 years later in 1995. McGill University made him
Professor Emeritus in 1996.
For many years, Professor Vlasic was McGill's principal
instructor of public international law. He also served from 1971 to
1975 as director of the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law
(IASL) and was a mainstay of the Institute throughout his entire
According to Professor Paul Dempsey, DCL'86, director of the
IASL, "Professor Vlasic's scholarship is among the most highly
respected in the field of Space Law. Students will remember
him as a powerful force in the classroom. He was a formidable and
dynamic colleague, one who is missed by all who had the pleasure of
sparing with his sharp intellect."
As a researcher, Professor Vlasic was noted for his
contributions to scholarship on international disarmament and
international space law. He prepared two important reports for the
United Nations - one on remote sensing, the other on the
establishment of an international satellite monitoring agency -
which have helped shape the discussions on these subjects. He
frequently served as a consultant to UN organizations and to the
Professor Vlasic's research also focused on the legality and
control of weapons of mass destruction. He co-authored a seminal
book entitled Law and Public Order in Space. According to
Professor Ram Jakhu, LLM'78, DCL'83, "this far-reaching study laid
down the conceptual and philosophical framework for the law of
outer space as we know it today."
George Robinson, LLM'67, DCL'70, Vlasic's first doctoral student
at the IASL, remembers his supervisor as an assertive and
opinionated academic who loved nothing more than a good debate. "He
was my faculty advisor, both for my rather
controversial master's dissertation and also for my
doctoral degree, the first DCL awarded by the IASL. In later
year, he freely gave his extraordinary insights to help me with
several difficult cases I was handling in the former
For decades, Professor Ivan Vlasic was a talented mentor to many
master's and doctoral students who emerged from McGill's Institute
of Air and Space Law. According to Dean of Law Daniel Jutras,
"Professor Vlasic was a towering figure in the Institute of Air and
Space Law, and a mentor to many of its graduate students. We offer
his family our condolences."