With great sadness we advise that Professor Donald J. Fleming, a former President of CCIL from 2004 to 2006, passed away on February 9, 2013. We know that he will be missed by many of you.
Don was a committed supporter of CCIL and worked hard to fulfill its mandate and grow its influence and utility. Prior to becoming President, he chaired the planning committee for the annual meeting in 1985, and contributed his energy and foresight on the Executive Committee in 1984-94 (as Vice-President in 1990-92) and on the Board of Directors since 1995. He promoted a research role for the Council beginning with a panel discussion he organized on the subject at the annual meeting in 1990, and co-authored a thoughtful presentation on The Future of the CCIL at the annual meeting in 1998.
Don Fleming had an influential career as Professor of Law at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) where he was a much loved teacher of international law. The protection of human rights was one of his special concerns, which he pursued well beyond his teaching. A few examples may illustrate the wealth and width of his contributions.
While President of CCIL, Don was instrumental in the establishment and initial awards of the John Peters Humphrey Fellowships in human rights. As legal counsel in 1981, he was successful in the Lovelace case, a native rights claim that formed the first petition against Canada before the United Nations Human Rights Committee. In addition to a slew of publications and public lectures and reports on a wide range of legal subjects, Don prepared the human rights chapters in both the fourth and fifth editions of the well-known book International Law Chiefly as Interpreted and Applied in Canada.
Don’s work to advance human rights took him across Canada and around the world. In 1978-79 he was the Rapporteur General for a series of conferences funded by the Canadian Human Rights Foundation on The International Protection of Human Rights that were held in Halifax, Quebec City, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver. In the 1990s he participated in a collaborative project between Canada and China on Human Rights, International Organizations and the Right to Development, involving workshops in Ottawa and Beijing.
Closer to home, Don had a long term engagement in a leadership role with the Atlantic Human Rights Centre. After co-organizing its official opening in 1989, he filled the director’s role in 1991 and participated in the direction of the Centre’s work as a continuing member of the Board of Directors since 2001. At UNB, Don also initiated the Law School’s involvement in the Jessup International Law Moot, serving as an especially supportive faculty advisor for many years, as well as an efficient organizer and host of the Canadian Competition at UNB in 1979-80 and 2000-01.
Professor Fleming held a BA from Mount Allison University and an LLB from UNB. He earned the graduate degree of LLB in International Law from Cambridge University and pursued further post-graduate studies at The Hague Academy of International Law and the International Institute of Human Rights, Strasburg. He was called to the New Brunswick Bar in 1975 and taught at UNB from 1977 until his retirement in 2012 in the areas of public international law, trade law, humanitarian law and torts law. For his qualities as a teacher Don was honored with the University of New Brunswick Law Award for Teaching Excellence. In addition, in 1993 he received the 125th Anniversary Commemorative Medal from the Government of Canada for his contribution to human rights, and in 2002 he was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal.
Don Fleming's obituary may be read on the website of the York Funeral Home, Fredericton, NB: www.yorkfh.com/sitemaker/sites/YORKFU1/obit.cgi?user=898132Fleming#. For those who wish, remembrances can be made in support of the Humphreys Fellowships through the Canadian Council on International Law (www.ccil-ccdi.ca/ccil-make-a-donation).