UN Documentation: International Law

International Law Documentation

International law is a primary concern of the United Nations. The third preambular paragraph of the UN Charter states as a key goal of the organization "to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained". The Statute of the International Court of Justice is an integral part of the Charter, and the ICJ is a principal organ of the UN.

International law is a complex and specialized field. This guide provides an introduction to the key documentation of the UN.

The UN Juridical Yearbook provides an overview of the legal activities of the organization during the year.

A more comprehensive listing of United Nations documents and publications on law-related topics can be retrieved through UNBISnet. UNBISnet provides links to the full text of recent documentation. Some subject terms which might prove useful in conducting a search are:

  • environmental law
  • international criminal courts
  • international trade law
  • judicial system
  • law of the sea
  • law of treaties
  • space law
  • war crimes

Additional descriptors may be identified through the UNBIS Thesaurus.

Proper names may also be used for constructing subject searches:

  • Conference on the Law of Treaties between States and International Organizations or between International Organizations;
  • Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses.

The Peace Palace Library is not a UN body.  It provides excellent research guides on a variety of international law topics.