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John Findlay Scott

WEST CORNWALL — John Findlay Scott, 88, of West Cornwall, died Dec. 25, 2018, at home. He was the loving husband of Julia Mary (Boulton) Scott.

John was born on Sept. 2, 1930, in Johannesburg, South Africa, the son of the late Chloris and John Scott. He graduated from Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, with a BA in English and history. He was awarded the Elsie Ballott Scholarship to attend graduate studies at Cambridge University in the UK. He left Cambridge with an MA and LLM (first class honors) in law, with a specialization in international law. At Cambridge, he was a Scholar of Sidney Sussex College, the George Long Prizewinner in Roman Law and the Whewell Scholar in International Law.

A renowned international legal practitioner, John had a distinguished career as an international lawyer for the United Nations. He joined the General Legal Division of the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat in February 1956. 

In 1979, he was appointed director of the Office of the Legal Counsel, and subsequently deputy to the Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs. He worked on some of the most pressing issues facing the United Nations, including treaties, sensitive negotiations, peacekeeping and the establishment of key UN Commissions.   Some of his significant accomplishments included working on the drafting and adoption at international conferences of the United Nations Conventions in the codification and progressive development of international law, including the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations, the Law of the Sea and the Law of Treaties.

He retired from the UN in December 1986, but continued to serve as a consultant. From 1991 to 1999 he served as senior counselor to the UN Commission (UNSCOM) established to oversee the disposal of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. 

In recognition of his service to the UN, in 1988 he was awarded the honor of Commander of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. 

In 2000, he and Julia moved their permanent residence from New York City to West Cornwall, where he dedicated his time and efforts to designing and maintaining their extensive gardens. 

He is survived by his sons, John William and Alexander; a daughter, Catherine; and eight grandchildren, John, Dylan and Graham Scott, Caroline, Emma and Annabel Resor and Stella and Ruby Scott. 

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, May 25, at 2 p.m. at the North Cornwall Meeting House. 

Memorial donations may be made to the Cornwall Conservation Trust, P.O. Box 74, West Cornwall, CT 06796. 

The Kenny Funeral Home in Sharon has care of arrangements.