Last month, The Peace Palace Library donated a copy of Mare Liberum to the Anton de Kom University in Suriname. The book was donated on the first day the Anton de Kom University opened its new law faculty.
The Dean, Mr. Clayton Wallerlei (LL.M) and the Vice-Dean Ms. Wanda Pherai (LL.M) were delighted to accept this important legal publication. Even though the new law faculty does not offer an LL.M program on Public International Law yet, more and more students express a strong interest in this field. Mr. Wallerlei and Ms. Pherai explained that they started working together with the Open University in The Hague to assist students who are incorporating international law topics into their Master’s thesis.
Mare Liberum or 'The Freedom of the Sea' was written by Dutch legal scholar and philosopher Hugo Grotius and was first published in Latin by Elzevier in the Spring of 1609. In this publication, Hugo Grotius argues that the sea should be considered a common good (res communis) for the benefit for mankind. He states that the sea is not an object of trade transactions, nor is the sea subject to servitude for it is open by its nature to all persons. Common goods have existed since the idyllic epoch of natural law although over the course of time, many were acquired as personal property, with the exception of the sea. This legal concept should apply to the sea as well as the shore and the air.
Today, Mare Liberum is considered his magnum opus and it was said that if Hugo Grotius had not written anything else but Mare Liberum, his place in the development of the Law of Nations would already have been fully established. But he accomplished far more than just that.
We hope that this special edition of Mare Liberum will be a welcome addition to the Library collection of the Anton de Kom University in Suriname.