Getting to know the law genius, Dr. Abdelrazeg El Murtadi Suleiman

Abdelrazeg was born in Libya’s Al-gegab. He is a member of the Al Abidat tribe, one of Libya’s most prominent clans. He earned his L.L.B. from the University of Benghazi in Libya in 1968, a Master of Law from the University of Grenoble in France in 1971, and a Ph.D. from the University of Paris I/Sorbonne in France in 1976.

Between 1976 and 2007, Abdelrazeg taught a variety of subjects in undergraduate and graduate programs at several institutions, including public international law and petroleum law at the faculties of law of the universities of Benghazi and Tripoli, private international law at the faculties of law of the universities of Tripoli and the Academy of Security Science, Tripoli, and diplomatic law at the Institute of Diplomatic Studies, Tripoli.

He served as the chairman of several Libyan boards and committees, including the Petroleum Law Review and Drafting Committee (2005–2006), the Petroleum Taxation Committee (2006, 2005), the Maritime and Land Boundaries Committee (1987–1999), the Continental Shelf Committee (1976–1987), and the Drafting Committee of Maritime Areas Law (1988–1990). He also served as a member of the Energy Consultative Commission, the Board of Foreign Investments, the Libyan Constitution Drafting Committee, and the Board of the Libyan Central Bank.

In 1977, Abdelrazeg provided legal advice to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) Ad Hoc Committee in Libreville over the Chad-Libya boundary issue. Between 1999 and 2000, he also worked as an expert for the OAU in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, drafting the African Union Constitutive Act. Additionally, he took part in discussions on boundary disputes and the process of establishing the African Union at summits hosted by the OAU. He offered legal counsel for the Libyan Delegation.

Abdelrazeg provided advice to various ministries in Libya on issues relating to international and regional organizations, the law of the sea (including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea), sovereign and diplomatic immunity, international humanitarian law, international criminal tribunals, and international economic, investment, and World Trade Organisation.

He led the Libyan defense team and served as counsel in the arbitration case Mobil Oil Libya, Ltd. v. Libyan Arab Jamahiriya between 1982 and 1983. In cases National Oil Corporation v. Libya Sun Oil Company (ICC Case No. 4462 in 1985) and Grace Petroleum Libya v. Libya and National Oil Corporation (ICC Case No. 8035 between 1993 and 1995), he also served as counsel for Libya and the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) before the International Arbitration Court of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

Abdelrazeg also participated in meetings and negotiations as the chief negotiator and legal advisor regarding several legal matters about the status of borders and border areas with neighboring countries, technical cooperation, and technology transfer under joint ventures and contractual agreements established with foreign partners in a variety of industries, including oil and gas, industry, energy, and electricity.

He participated in the OPEC Vienna legal defense team’s representation of the group in legal proceedings brought before US courts against the group and its members.  Additionally, he gave expert testimony before ICC tribunals in matters regarding Libyan legal principles and regulations and the legal protections offered to international investors, such as stabilization clauses and investment agreements.

Many national university libraries, like the King Fahad National Library in Saudi Arabia, have copies of his Arabic books. Furthermore, Abdelrazeg also served as a judge at the Court of Justice of the Arab Maghreb Union from 2002 to 2017. From 2009 to 2010, he presided over the Court.

Between 2007 and 2012, Abdelrazeg served as a legal adviser to the Libyan Permanent Mission to the UN, a member of the Libyan delegations to the 62nd through 65th Regular Sessions of the UN General Assembly, and the country’s representative to the Sixth Committee (Legal Committee). He represented Libya before the UN Security Council as the deputy representative between 2007 and 2009. The UN General Assembly selected Abdelrazeg to serve on the UN International Law Commission in 2011, and he did so until the conclusion of his term in 2016. He has been discussed in interviews, including one with the New York Times on the revolution in Libya. On June 7, 2021, Abdelrazeg passed away in London, England.

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