Foreign & International Blog
International humanitarian law (IHL) is a set of rules established to limit the effects of armed conflict on people, culture and property at times of armed conflict. It protects persons who do not, or no longer, participate in the fighting, and sets limits as to how warfare is to be conducted. It is also commonly known as the law of war or the law of armed conflict.
Treaties: Documents and Tools
Much of international humanitarian law is encapsulated in the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Additional Protocols, which seek to protect victims of war. IHL also covers the regulation of the use of force and the conduct of states and individuals in warfare.
International Customary Law
- ICRC National Implementation Database
- Oxford Reports on International Law: International Law in Domestic Courts
- i.lex: The Legal Research System for International Law in U.S. Courts
International courts and Tribunal Cases
- Oxford Reports on International Law: International Criminal Law/International Human Rights Law
- International law reports
- WorldLii International Courts & Tribunals Collection
- Basic Documents and Jurisprudence of International/ized Criminal Courts and Tribunals
- Interights - Commonwealth and International Human Rights Case Law Databases
- HRW Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity. A Topical Digest of the Case Law of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
- Digest of United States Practice in International Law
Selective Print sources
- Global War Crimes Tribunal Collection (1997-)
- Annotated Leading cases of International criminal Tribunals (1999-)
- Commonwealth human rights law digest (1996-)
- Digest of jurisprudence of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, 2003-2005
- Library of Congress Military Resources
- Avalon Project: Laws of War
- US Naval War College Stockton e-portal
Useful print sources:
- Handbook of international humanitarian law (2008)
- International humanitarian law (2003-2006)
- Constraints on the waging of war : an introduction to international humanitarian law (2011)
- Archbold, international criminal courts practice, procedure and evidence (2009)
- Cassese, International criminal law (2008)
- Cryer et al., An introduction to international criminal law and procedure (2010)
- Schabas, International criminal law (2012)
- Bassiouni, Introduction to international criminal law (2013)
- International criminal justice : a critical analysis of institutions and procedures (2007)
- The Oxford companion to international criminal justice (2009)
The Travaux Préparatoires are official documents recording the negotiations, drafting, and discussions during the process of creating a treaty. These documents may be consulted and taken into consideration when interpreting treaties. Travaux Préparatoires of a specific treaty are often unpublished or inaccessible, and difficult to locate even when these documents have been published in a collated volume. So, to help you with your search, we have begun to collect the available Travaux Préparatoires for international treaties online and in our catalog, and created a resource under Foreign and International Law Resources titled “Travaux Préparatoires.” If the item is physically located in the library, we scanned and attached the table of contents so you can easily tell if the item might help you with your research. This is an ongoing project that we would like to make accessible to anyone doing Travaux research, so please let us know if you come across a Travaux source that is not included here.
Many problems arise when hunting for the Travaux Préparatoires of a specific treaty, especially when the information is unpublished. After determining the official name of the treaty, you should begin by searching the Travaux Préparatoires database we have compiled. If your treaty is not included, then you need to search databases, such as Morris, EBSCO, and WorldCat, for the treaty name and the term “travaux” – the most efficient search method is to put the treaty name in one set of parentheses and term “travaux” in another. If published Travaux Préparatoires are available for your treaty, either in book or article form, these searches should locate them.
Should these searches not be fruitful, you may also search for resources and publications on your treaty without the term “travaux.” Sometimes these resources include information and summaries on the drafting and negotiations that took place during the treaty-making process, which would include references to official Travaux Préparatoires documents that you can then look up. Occasionally, information on a treaty may be online, with references listed, some of which may be or lead to Travaux documents. Although all treaties have associated Travaux Préparatoires documents, these may be restricted information, or are oftentimes not collected and collated into a user-friendly format. Locating Travaux Préparatoires, in this case, would involve combing through documents from the UN or other government resources, and it may be best to consult a reference librarian for assistance.
The Law Library provides access to two electronic resources useful for conducting general international, foreign and comparative legal research.
Kluwer’s International Encyclopaedia of Laws provides Country-by-Country Overviews, searchable PDFs, RSS feeds for updates and electronic Table of Contents (Etoc) alerts. The law library subscribes to the sections on Criminal Law, Media Law, Family and Succession Law, and Environmental Law. The law library print collection also consists of national monographs on various topics.
Oxford Bibliographies Online includes short scholarly topical commentaries and bibliographies of seminal treatises on specific topics relating to International Law and Criminology. Yale links provide direct interface to Yale network resources.
Yale faculty and students can subscribe to the monthly newsletter of the Peace Palace Library, undoubtedly the premier international law library in the world, known not only for its contemporary collection, but also for its historical resources. While much of the newsletter relates to local events such as the commemoration of the 367th birthday of Hugo Grotius in Delft or the activities of the Centre for Studies and Research, it also points to valuable research tools, most particularly the research guides developed by the library staff e.g. the history of international law.
The newsletter also recommends books on given topics, as well as blogs. One can also subscribe to the library’s weekly new acquisition lists. The Yale Law Library studies these religiously, and orders many of the titles noted. In addition, the newsletter has interesting features, such as interviews of notable scholars of international law, e.g. Professor Masahuru Yanagihara, President of the Japanese Society of International Law and Professor of International Law at Kyushu University.
Curator of the Foreign and International Law Collection
Over the past few weeks we have received dozens of requests for finding treaties. Here are a few examples of knowing the name of a treaty, but having difficulty finding official print copies of them. There are many treaties available online, and while they are useful for research, you cannot often cite to them in law review articles.
To find an official copy, you first need to find a citation.
1. The “WTO treaty.” First, use Google to find the proper name of the treaty. In this case, the formal name is the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization. Then search for this treaty in the Electronic Information System for International Law website (eisil.org), a database of materials, websites, and online guides regarding international law, put out by the American Society of International Law. This is one of the best places to come to get a citation--to get it, you don't click on the name of the treaty (which brings you to an online version). Instead you click on “more information” and you will get the legal citation “1867 UNTS 154” referring you to the treaty in the United Nations Treaty Series. A parallel citation to the International Legal Material series “33 ILM 1144 (1994)” is also given. ILM is accepted by Bluebook if you cannot find an official version of the treaty. You can go to the hallway between 1L and UES to get the UNTS in print, or if you want to use the UNTS online, go to HeinOnline, click “login” and scroll down to the “United Nations Law Collection.” Under “Finding Aids,” click on “Enter a United Nations Treaty Series Citation,” then enter volume 1867 page 154 to see the relevant page. As I wrote earlier, navigating the UNTS website can be challenging and the files very large to load.
2. A double income tax treaty between the US and Austria. To find an official version of this treaty from 1956, go to the TIAS series index in the F&I Reading Room and look for treaties between the US and another party. Look under "Austria" and you will find:
You will get a TIAS (Treaties and Other International Acts Series) number (TIAS 3923) which can be located here: http://morris.law.yale.edu/record=b177561~S1. Alternatively, you can try to locate the treaty in Kavass's Guide to the United States Treaties in Force, which gives a numerical list of TIAS treaties as well as many others. However, if the 1956 treaty between Austria and the US had expired, was superseded, or for any other reason was no longer "in force," you would not be able to locate the treaty using this guide.
3. The Treaty of Frankfurt. Again, start by searching for it in Google. You will find that there a few treaties are under this name, and in this case, we are after the 1871 treaty. We then encounter two issues: 1) the US is not a party (which means it won't be published in something like the statutes at large), and 2) the treaty predates the traditional treaty collection bodies (i.e. the League of Nations and the United Nations had not been formed yet). In this situation, the best place to look is in the Consolidated Treaty Series.
These were just a few examples of the variety of sources and tools that can be used to locate treaties for source cites. As always, my office is open for any additional questions.
If you are citing to a treaty in a law review article, The Bluebook is very particular about what resources to cite. Surprisingly for many researchers, The Bluebook requires citations to United States publications over citations to publications from international bodies, such as the United Nations. The following will serve as a guide on citation.
If the US is a party to the treaty:
- look for publication in the United States Treaties and Other International Agreements ("UST" - in print, and online). This series began in 1950 and the last published volume was in 1984, so despite the fact that this is the first place you are forced to go, it is the least likely place to have the treaty you need.
- Treaties that predate the creation of the UST were published in the Statutes at Large (Stat.) series, which are also available both in print and online.
If the treaty you are trying to find is not published in either the UST or Stat. at Large, you can cite one of the following sources (given in the order of preference):
- Treaties and Other International Acts Series (TIAS) - in print and online. .
- Treaty Series - in print and online.
- Executive Agreement Series - in print and online.
If the treaty you are looking for is not in one of these US sources, then search for it in these international sources:
- United Nations Treaty Series – in print and online. This series can be found in the hallway between L1 and the UES. We recommend pulling volumes when possible because the UNTS website can be difficult to navigate, and some of the treaty files are extremely large and difficult to download as a pdf. The UNTS is also available on Hein.
- Senate Treaty Documents
- The Department of State Dispatch
- Department of State Press Releases
An unofficial source can be cited if the agreement you are looking for does not appear in any of the above sources.
If the US is not a party to the treaty, cite a source published by an international organization.
- You are most likely able to find your treaty in the UN Treaty Series given above, but there are other regional organizations such as the Organization of American States Treaty Series (OASTS), that might have the treaty.
- If the treaty predates the UN, the UN website does have the League of Nations Treaty Series as well. This series is also on Hein and in print. If the treaty predates the League of Nations, you will probably need to turn to an unofficial source (see below for more information).
Some intergovernmental sources include:
Should the treaty not appear in ILM, you would need to cite to another unofficial treaty source, such as the Consolidated Treaty Series (Consol. T.S.). The Consolidated Treaty Series is an excellent place to find treaties that predate the UN and the League of Nations.
There are dozens of other potential publications to consult, especially if you are looking for investment and tax treaties.
For more information, please feel free to contact Ryan directly
Daimler Financial Services, a German investor, embarked on arbitration proceedings against Argentina through the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) recently. Daimler was attempting to attain compensation for damages the company sustained due to changes Argentina implemented in 2001 in an effort to rein in its currency crisis. On the 22nd August 2012, the ISCID came to the decision that, as Daimler did not adhere to Article 10 of the Argentina-Germany bilateral investment treaty (BIT) and submit the dispute to the Argentine courts for a requisite period of 18 months, international arbitration cannot be pursued by the investor.
The Argentina-Germany BIT ensures that dispute resolution is first attempted through negotiation before being addressed in the national courts of the country, and lastly, pursued through international arbitration. Thus, Argentina argued that Daimler jumped the gun and went straight into international arbitration without giving the Argentine courts the requisite time period with the case. In response, Daimler claimed the “Most Favoured Nation” (MFN) clause in the Argentina-Germany BIT, which allows the investor to import a more favourable dispute resolution provision from the Argentina-Chile BIT. The German company asserted that they are employing Article 3 from the Argentina-Chile BIT, which states that a dispute may be submitted for resolution in the domestic court or to international arbitration should it not be resolved within six months via negotiation.
This recent decision by the ICSID (click subscriber login to read the article) highlights the inconsistent observance of the MFN provision, the ambiguity of the provision, and the degree to which the interpretation of the provision influences the resulting decision. In addition to the Daimler Financial Services AG v Argentine Republic decision, three other significant MFN decisions passed recently also emphasize the dichotomy of opinions regarding interpretation of MFN clauses. While in two of these decisions [Impregilo SpA v Argentine Republic (ICSID Case No. ARB/07/17) and Hochtief AG v Argentina (ICSID Case No. ARB/07/31)] the ICSID ruled in favour of extending MFN provisions to resolve disputes, in the most recent decision (ICS v Argentina, UNCITRAL, 10 February 2012) the tribunal ruled against an MFN clause being extended to dispute resolution provisions. In light of the issues regarding ambiguity and interpretation in MFN provisions, some states, such as the U.S. and U.K., have attempted to clarify the extent and capacity of such provisions, although as evident from recent rulings, the ICSID decisions on these cases are inconsistent and unpredictable.
On 6th September 2012, Myanmar passed a new foreign investment law that would replace its 1988 foreign investment law. The Myanmar government’s plans for economic expansion are clearly reflected in this new law, in which the stringent regulations previously in place for foreign investors are relaxed. Implementation of this new law is delayed by Myanmar’s President Thein Sein, however, in order for amendments to be made, which will hopefully clarify certain parts of the law and make it more flexible and attractive to potential foreign investors. President Thein Sein suggested amendments to a clause that limits the foreign stake in joint ventures to 50 percent, as he believes that the joint venture ratio should not be fixed but be dependent on the business sector in question. Furthermore, the required minimum investment by foreign investors currently set at $5 million will also be reconsidered so as not to rule out smaller investment deals. President Thein Sein also wants to clarify the section of the legislation that discusses four of the eleven restricted sectors – namely, production and services, agriculture, livestock, and fishing – and the extent local businesses and foreign investors are to be involved in each of these sectors.
Earlier this year, economic sanctions previously instituted by Western nations against Myanmar were relaxed, thus allowing more foreign investment in the country. As of 27th September 2012, U.S. sanctions, which include a ban on Myanmarian imports since 2003, will also begin to be lifted “in recognition of the continued progress toward reform and in response to requests from both the government and the opposition…” said the U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. As Myanmar’s largest export to the U.S. before the ban were garments, this lifting of import restrictions bodes well for the country’s garment industry.
President Thein Sein was warmly received at the United Nations on 27th September 2012 as he addressed the General Assembly. In his speech, Thein Sein discussed how Myanmar is changing and making progress on the path of democracy. In a landmark moment, he congratulated and publicly expressed admiration for the main opposition leader, Noble laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who met with Secretary Clinton during her visit to Myanmar in 2011, the first visit by a Secretary of State in over 50 years.
As an aside, I was in Myanmar in August, when I browsed through the New Light of Myanmar (a government-owned newspaper published by the Ministry of Information famously quipped "the New Blight of Myanmar" by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi due to its misinformation and censorship of news) I was surprised to see I could stay up to date on current events near my home in North Haven! Entitled “Conn town settles dispute over girl’s pet bunny,” the report tells of a heartwarming story in which a North Haven girl was given permission to keep her Flemish Giant rabbit despite zoning regulations prohibiting the keeping of livestock on properties smaller than two acres.
Juricaf is a free franocophone database that compiles the most recent supreme court decisions from 42 countries. The database is an excellent tool for researching the case laws of these countries, and links to country-specific pages have been added to the Country-by-Country Guide to Foreign Law Research resource. Juricaf was developed with the assistance of the International Organisation of la Francophonie, and this year the website was the recipient of the Open Data Award in France.
Complementing Manupatra, the new database provides additional coverage of primary law and secondary law sources for conducting Indian legal research. Please also consult earlier blog post on the plethora of print and electronic resources available at the law library.
In addition to fee-based resources, open-access resources available in governmental and NGOs websites also provide helpful research tools, particularly in areas of court decisions and treaty sources. India legislation searchable by title, keyword and year, is available in India Code and PRS Legislative Search provides access to full-text bills complete with bill-tracking functionality. Court judgments and other judicial announcements are available in free sites such as Indian Kanoon, Judis (Judgment Information System) and Indian Courts. Treaty documents are available in Ministry of External Affairs' Bilateral Documents, LII of India's Indian Treaties, and International India Treaty Council.
LII of India, part of the Free Access to Law Movement, also provides an integrated search platform for primary and secondary sources from over a hundred Legal Information Institute (LII) databases of other countries and territories. While journal articles are covered selectively in the two subscription databases, some are available freely online such as India Law Journal, India Law Institute Law Review, and India Journal of Law and Technology. Lastly, SSRN's Indian law eJournal also provides free access to scholarly working papers submitted by legal scholars based in the U.S. and abroad.