It was with deep sadness that I learned of the death of Jean-Paul Costa on 27 April 2023.
A former president of the European Court of Human Rights, I met Jean-Paul Costa in December 2014, when I was awarded my Legal Price by the Foundation Animal Law, ethics & science (Prix de Droit by La Fondation Droit Animal, éthique & sciences), of which he was a member of the honorary committee.
An eminent jurist, he was also a very kind-hearted man endowed with great humanity. I asked him if he would agree to place my two international, multidisciplinary conferences organised as part of the Normandy Chair for Peace under his patronage. He did me the honour of accepting and thus became the preface to my two books. The first was published at the beginning of March 2023, and the second is currently being published.
Mr Costa had time to read the first volume, entitled Animal sensitivity. Legal approaches and transdisciplinary issues (La sensibilité animale. Approches juridiques et enjeux transdisciplinaires). I was able to confirm this because he spontaneously sent me a message on 29 March 2023 to congratulate me on my « tireless and high-quality work », telling me that the book was « very interesting » and that he was « proud to be my preface ».
I took this message as a magnificent farewell gift, a privilege and a guide for my future work.
Mr Costa had time to approve the proofs of the second volume, entitled What law/rights for animals? (Quel(s) droit(s) pour les animaux?) This book will therefore be dedicated to him.
I offer my sincere condolences to his family and in particular to our colleague, Delphine Costa, Professor of Public Law at the University of Aix-Marseille.
Extract from the preface written by Jean-Paul Costa in A. Quesne (ed.), « Quel(s) droit(s) pour les animaux ? » (What law/rights for animals ?), Mare & Martin, coll. “Droit & science politique”, 2023, p. 20 :
« Contrary to what some people think, animal rights don’t seem to me to compete with human rights, they complement them. Since Article 4 of the Declaration of 1789 proclaims that freedom consists in being able to do anything that does not harm others, would it be absurd, in the XXIst century, to imagine that the notion of others can also encompass animals? Claude Lévi-Strauss once referred to animals as the most otherworldly of all otherworldly beings… ».