Journal of the International Law Department of the University of Miskolc

Miskolc Journal of International Law

Miskolci Nemzetközi Jogi Közlemények


Vol. 2. (2005) No. 1. pp. 126-127.


 KÁROLY NAGY (1932 – 2001)

by László BODNÁR[1]:

His course of life led from Mezőberény through Gyula to Szeged where he started his career at the Department of International Law – then headed by László Buza – in 1957 and where he carried on his valuable educational and research activities for 44 continuous years.

He advanced step by step in the hierarchy of university faculty: heading the Department of International Law from 1969 as an associate professor and as professor between 1982 and 1996. His lectures introduced thousands of law students to the realm of positive international law and he examined their proficiency according to the high standards set by himself. He strove to promote a better understanding of international law among students by participating to the creation of various textbooks as co-author, writing several chapters. In 1995 he published a textbook on the history of international law (Nagy Károly: A nemzetközi jog, valamint Magyarország külkapcsolatainak története [A History of International Law and the External Relations of Hungary]; Antológia Kiadó és Nyomda, Lakitelek, 1995; p. 208) followed by a comprehensive textbook on international law appearing in 1999 and providing ever since the best source of data and information available in Hungarian (Nagy Károly: Nemzetközi jog [International Law]; Püski Kiadó, Budapest, 1999; p. 680).

His scholar activities featured numerous problems of international law: 5 monographs, 28 major studies and dozens of other publications indicate that the law of international treaties, the relation between international and national law, the institution of recognition, the protection of the environment by international law, the status of minorities in international and constitutional law all alike arose his interest as a jurist. But his most significant contribution to the science of international law is certainly related to the questions of state responsibilitiy. Besides several studies concerning the topic mentioned above he published an entire monograph analysing the subject of international responsibility in its complexity (Nagy Károly: Az állam felelőssége a nemzetközi jog megsértése miatt [State Responsibility for Internationally Wrongful Acts]; Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, 1991; p. 243). His achievements in this field were acknowledged world-wide not only by academic circles: the propositions developed by Károly Nagy were cited on several occasions during the ongoing codification process in the International Law Commission of the United Nations.

Being a worthy successor of László Búza, his teaching and scientific methods are characterised by a positivist approach. The views expressed in his university lectures and his writings were always based on positive law regardless of their compatibility with the actual political expectations. He handed down this attitude to his university colleagues and to his former students practising international law as well. One should also mention that he was on friendly terms with practically each member of the small community of international lawyers in Hungary and this friendship was not confined to professional matters.

[1] Professor, head of the International Law Department at the University of Szeged. The article was translated by: Eszter Kirs, university assistant at the University of Miskolc, International Law Department.