History of Western International Law

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(From History of Western Law and the International Conventions pages.)

The following is a list of international law conventions, treaties, and events that have come to shape the modern norms of International Law. Conventions and treaties since the Congress of Vienna, with the exception of the GATT treaties, are focused on international criminal law, international human rights law, and international diplomatic law. The links provided are primarily to source documents, where available. For a comprehensive listing of treaties deposited with the International Committee of the Red Cross, the League of Nations, and the United Nations, see the International Conventions page. For the treaties, conferences, and declarations that led to the formation of the European Union,[1] see the Emergence of the European Union page.

  1. Treaty of Lagash and Umma (26th Century BCE)

  2. Peace Treaty Between Ramses II and Hattusili III (1258 BCE)

  3. The Rhodian Law of the Sea (9th Century BCE)

  4. The Peloponnesian League (5th Century BCE)

  5. The Roman Jus Gentium and the beginnings of the Jus Inter Gentes (Beginning in the Late 6th to Early 5th Century BCE)

  6. The Treaty of Verdun (843)

  7. The Spanish Consulate of the Sea (1258)

  8. Question 40 of the Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas (Late Thirteenth Century)

  9. A Treatise on the Conflict of Laws by Bartolo da Sassoferrato (Mid-14th Century)[2]

  10. First Diet of the Hanseatic League (1356)

  11. The Italian Wars (1494-1559)

  12. De Jure Belli Libri Tres by Alberico Gentili (1598)

  13. De Jure Belli Ac Pacis Libri Tres by Hugo Grotius (1625)

  14. The Treaty of Westphalia (1648)

  15. Of the Law of Nature and Nations by Samuel Pufendorf (1674)

  16. The Treaty of Rijswijk (1697)

  17. The Treaties of Utrecht (1714)

  18. Questions of Public Law by Cornelius van Bynkershoek (1737)

  19. The Law of Nations by Emerich de Vattel (1758)

  20. The Treaty of Paris (1763)

  21. The Congress of Vienna (1815)

  22. The First Geneva Convention (1864)

  23. Treaty of Prague (1866)

  24. Treaty of Frankfurt (1871)

  25. Congress of Berlin (1878)

  26. The Treaties of the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907

  27. The Second Geneva Convention (1906)

  28. The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (1918) and the Treaty of Versailles (1919)

  29. The Slavery Convention (1926)

  30. The Third Geneva Convention (1929)

  31. German Surrender Documents (1945)[3]

  32. Japanese Surrender Documents (1945)[4]

  33. Charter of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg (1945)

  34. The United Nations Charter (1945)

  35. The Statute of the International Court of Justice (1945)

  36. Significant Multilateral Public Law Institutions since 1945

  37. Affirmation of the Principles of International Law recognised by the Charter of the Nüremberg Tribunal (Resolution 95 of the United Nations General Assembly) (1946)[5]

  38. Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations (1946)

  39. Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the Specialized Agencies (1947)

  40. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (1947)

  41. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948)

  42. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)[6]

  43. International Conventions Respecting Human Rights Since 1948

  44. Revised General Act for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes (1949)

  45. The Treaties of the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949)

  46. Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nüremberg Tribunal and in the Judgment of the Tribunal (1950)[7]

  47. Beginnings of the European Supranational Community (1950)[8]

  48. International Criminal Conventions Since 1953

  49. The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961)

  50. The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (1963)

  51. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966)[9]

  52. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966)[10]

  53. The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969)

  54. The Convention on Special Missions (1969)

  55. The Vienna Convention on the Representation of States in Their Relations with International Organizations of a Universal Character (1975)

  56. Helsinki Declaration (1975)

  57. The Vienna Convention on the Succession of States in Respect of Treaties (1978)

  58. The Vienna Convention on the Succession of States in Respect of State Property, Archives and Debt (1983)

  59. The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties Between States and International Organizations or Between International Organizations (1986)

  60. Charter of Paris (1990)

  61. Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (1993)[11]

  62. The Marrakech Agreement (1994)

  63. International Statute of the Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda[12]

  64. Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (1998)

  65. Cambodian Draft Law Establishing Chambers for Khmer Rouge Trials (2001)[13]

  66. The Statute of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (2002)[14]

  67. The United Nations Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and Their Properties (2004)

  68. The Statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (2006)[15]

Notes

  1. And many of those contained on this page, such as the Treaty of Frankfurt, Congress of Berlin, and Treaty of Versailles, contributed directly to the circumstances that led to World War II and the subsequent creation of the European Supranational Entity.
  2. As contained in an Italian commentary from 1602.
  3. These documents are particularly important because they provided legal jurisdiction to the later WWII war crimes tribunals in Germany and Japan (no such jurisdiction, or international political will due to Cold War concerns, existed for the prosecution of Italian war criminals beyond what could be provided under Italian municipal law). The crimes on which the defendants were tried were devised according to the General Principals of International Law as interpreted by the tribunals, as supported by earlier treaties and conventions (particularly the Geneva and Hague Conventions) Once the United Nations General Assembly had ratified the conduct of the tribunals and the International Law Commission stated their findings on the General Principles of International Law arising therefrom, legal precedent was established for future war crimes tribunals and for the International Criminal Court at the Hague.
  4. These documents are particularly important because they provided legal jurisdiction to the later WWII war crimes tribunals in Germany and Japan (no such jurisdiction, or international political will due to Cold War concerns, existed for the prosecution of Italian war criminals beyond what could be provided under Italian municipal law). The crimes on which the defendants were tried were devised according to the General Principals of International Law as interpreted by the tribunals, as supported by earlier treaties and conventions (particularly the Geneva and Hague Conventions) Once the United Nations General Assembly had ratified the conduct of the tribunals and the International Law Commission stated their findings on the General Principles of International Law arising therefrom, legal precedent was established for future war crimes tribunals and for the International Criminal Court at the Hague.
  5. Although a resolution of the UN General Assembly is not binding on the States-Members, it can be interpreted as some evidence of the General Principals of International Law which may be binding under the norms of Public International Law.
  6. This is a resolution of the U.N. General Assembly and is not a treaty; it is therefore not binding on the States-Members of the United Nations. However, such a resolution might constitute some evidence of the General Principles of International Law and therefore may be binding pursuant to the norms of Public International Law.
  7. This is a resolution/report of the International Law Commission of the United Nations and is not a treaty; it is therefore not binding on the States-Members of the United Nations. However, such a resolution/report is clearly intended to constitute evidence of the General Principles of International Law and therefore may be binding pursuant to the norms of Public International Law.
  8. This refers specifically to the Schuman Declaration of May 9, 1950, and the developments that followed in Europe.
  9. A declaration of the U.N. General Assembly but not a treaty. This might assist a court with interpretation but cannot be considered binding on states-parties.
  10. A declaration of the U.N. General Assembly but not a treaty. This might assist a court with interpretation but cannot be considered binding on states-parties.
  11. This tribunal was wholly a creature of the United Nations and the first such exercise of its international criminal jurisdiction since its founding. Jurisdiction for their authority is stated at the beginning of the document.
  12. Established in November 1994 by the United Nations Security Council in Resolution 955 (see the [relevant resolutions page]).
  13. Negotiations between the Government of Cambodia and the United Nations, at the request of the Government of Cambodia, led to the Draft Law in 1998, prior to the operation of the International Criminal Court.
  14. The court was established by an agreement between the United Nations and the Lebanese Republic pursuant to Security Council resolution 1664 of 29 March 2006. An agreement was made between the Government of Lebanon and the United Nations that same day, pursuant to the Resolution 1664, and the United Nations Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, endorsed the agreement on 30 May 2007.
  15. The court was established by an agreement between the United Nations and the Government of Sierra Leone, pursuant to a request from the Government of Sierra Leone. The Parliament of Sierra Leone then ratified and amended the agreement.
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