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International and Foreign Research Basics


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Title: International and Foreign Research Basics

International and Foreign Research Basics
  • CWRU School of Law
  • Theofrastous
  • Dorchak

Part I Areas of International Law
  • What is International Law?
  • Article 38 ICJ Statute
  • . a. international conventions, whether general
    or particular, establishing rules expressly
    recognized by the contesting states
  • b. international custom, as evidence of a general
    practice accepted as law
  • c. the general principles of law recognized by
    civilized nations
  • d. subject to the provisions of Article 59,
    judicial decisions and the teachings of the most
    highly qualified publicists of the various
    nations, as subsidiary means for the
    determination of rules of law.

  • Public International Law
  • Private International / Commercial Law
  • Foreign Law
  • Comparative Law
  • Soft Law
  • International Relations
  • Realpolitik politics based on practical and
    material factors rather than on theoretical or
    ethical objectives

Public International Law
  • Laws of War and Peace (armed forces, arms
    control, conflict resolution)
  • Laws of International Organizations (UN, EU,
    International Tribunals, Economic Development)
  • Laws of International Relations (treaties,
    national security, state-state relations.
  • Laws of the Commons (law of the sea, space, air,
  • Laws of Human Rights (covenants, accords,
  • Laws Concerning Individuals (immigration,
    naturalization, labor laws, extradition).

Private International / Commercial Law
  • Conflict Resolution (conflict of laws, remedies,
  • Business Law (transactions, taxes, antitrust,
    banking, insurance, intellectual property,
  • Trade law (trade barriers, import-export
  • Development Law (foreign aid, distribution,
  • Personal Relations (trusts and estates, child
    custody, matrimony, taxes).
  • Admiralty Law
  • Aviation Law

Foreign Law
  • By Country
  • By Region (Africa, Latin America, European
  • By Type ( civil, common, canon, Islamic)
  • JuriGlobe
  • http//

Comparative Law
  • Substantive comparisons
  • Procedural comparisons
  • Historical / Jurisprudential comparisons
  • Methodologies of Reform / Improvement

  • Primary
  • Codified Law
  • Constitutions
  • Treaties
  • Statutes
  • Legislative Materials
  • Administrative and Regulatory Materials
  • Case Law
  • Decisions of International Tribunals
  • Decisions of National Courts
  • Arbitral Decisions
  • U.S. Case Law

Secondary Sources
  • Analytical Tools (Textbooks, Restatements,
    Encyclopedias, Dictionaries).
  • Periodicals and Commentary (and indexes)
  • Mass Media, Bulletins , Newsletters
  • Annuals (Annual collections, proceedings,
  • Loose-leaf services (general, topical, regional).
  • Digests (U.S., UK, European Countries).

  • Practice and Research Aids
  • Handbooks, manuals, guides, nutshells
  • Bibliographies
  • Reference Sources
  • Government Agencies
  • Private Organizations, NGOs
  • Libraries
  • Document Systems
  • UN, EU, Others (e.g., OAS)
  • Online Research (subscription, Internet).

  • People (practitioners, professors, scholars,
    reference librarians, government and diplomatic
  • Organizations (public affairs, libraries,
    information centers, organizations, publishers).
  • Networks (email lists, professional associations,
  • Events (conventions, symposia, conferences).

Major Internet Web Sites
  • General Legal Sites
  • International Sites
  • Foreign Sites
  • Domestic US Sites
  • Special Topics and Interest

  • American Society of International Law
  • American Bar Association List http//www.abanet.o

International Links - ASIL
  • Human Rights International Commercial
    Arbitration International Criminal Law
    International Economic Law International
    Environmental Law International Intellectual
    Property Law International OrganizationsPrivate
    International Law Treaties United Nations

United Nations
  • Official Web Site Locator for the United Nations
    System of Organizations (http//
      The Official Web Site Locator is a good
    starting point for determining if a particular UN
    program or a specialized agency of the UN system
    has a Web site. The "Frequently Requested
    Information" section provides conference
    schedules, library and documentation services,
    publication catalogs, press releases, and other
  • United Nations Home Page (http// 
    This site, maintained by the UN Department of
    Public Information, is a good starting point if
    one has not already identified a more specific
    relevant information resource. Much of the
    information is designed for the general public
    (e.g., stamp sales), but note particularly the
    link to UN Documentation Centre
    (http// This page
    provides access to the documents of the major
    bodies, including the General Assembly, Security
    Council, Economic and Social Council, and the
    Secretariat. Texts of resolutions for many years
    are available via this route. There are also
    links to other resources such as the United
    Nations Documentation Research Guide
    the Documents Alert page and documents in
    German. This guide provides information on the
    types of documents issued by the UN as well as
    how to locate the documents in paper or
    electronic form.

  • International Law Page of the UN Home Page
  • This page is part of the official UN Home Page
    provided by the Department of Public Information,
    but it is listed separately here to draw
    attention to this important section. It leads to
    materials specifically relevant to international
    law, such as UNCITRAL materials
    (http//, the
    International Law Commission (http//
    w/ilc/index.htm), or Oceans and Law of the Sea
    materials (http// There
    is also a link to the International Court of
    Justice (http// which contains
    basic documents (statute of the Court),
    decisions, the Court's docket, and other
    information about the Court. A recent addition to
    this site is the 54th Session of the Sixth
    Committee (Legal) of the General Assembly
    See also the United Nations Documentation
    Research Guide on International Law

Human Rights
  • Bibliography on the Universal Declaration of
    Human Rights, compiled by the Franklin Eleanor
    Roosevelt Institute  (http//
    ry/bibliography.htm).  Concise Guide to Human
    Rights on the Internet by Derechos Human Rights
    (September 1998) (http//
  • Women's Human Rights Resources Group, Women's
    Human Rights Resources, annotated resources
  • Lyonette Louis Jacques and David Weissbrodt,
    Bibliography for Research on International Human
    Rights Law, 13 Hamline L. Rev. 673 (1990)

International Criminal Law
  • United Nations Crime and Justice Information
    Network (UNCJIN) (http//
  • This electronic network was established in 1989
    in response to a resolution of the UN Economic
    and Social Council and is the creation of the UN
    Centre for International Crime Prevention in
    Vienna. It encompasses all criminal law
    information generated by the United Nations and
    its related bodies, including texts of laws,
    treaties and conventions, UN documents,
    statistical sources, and gateways to affiliated

Countries of the World
  • The Countries of the World (http//
    country/country.html) page includes general
    country information, maps of the world, U.S.
    Department of State Human Rights Reports, and a
    complete list of links to countries on which
    UNCJIN has compiled information. World Justice
    Information Network (WJIN) (http//
    or (http//  WJIN is designed to
    be an independent global research forum for
    information on crime, justice and the rule of
    law. The system, which is supported and
    administered by the National Institute of Justice
    (NIJ) (http//, builds
    upon its predecessor, the United Nations Online
    Crime and Justice Clearinghouse (UNOJUST), and
    works in close cooperation with the United
    Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
    Programme Network (UNCJIN). It serves as a
    central point of access to a global virtual
    library containing thousands of professional
    publications and is a worldwide criminal justice
    news monitoring tool. Features include a
    specialized criminal justice search engine and
    multilingual capabilities. Registration is
    required, however, any individual who is
    professionally involved in the area of
    international crime and justice may qualify for a
    free membership.

International Criminal Law
  •  Justice Information Center (http//
      This information clearinghouse, a service of
    the National Criminal Justice Reference Service
    (http//, "is one of
    the most extensive sources of information on
    criminal and juvenile justice in the world." It
    is divided into sections covering corrections,
    courts, crime prevention, criminal justice
    statistics, drugs, international information,
    juvenile justice, law enforcement, research and
    evaluation, victims, and current
    highlights. Cecil Greek's Criminal Justice Links
    International Criminal Justice Resources
    (http//  Created
    and maintained by Dr. Cecil E. Greek at the
    School of Criminology Criminal Justice, Florida
    State University. This well-known, comprehensive
    list links to Web sites for criminal law, law
    enforcement, crime prevention peacemaking, and
    includes regional source lists for the United
    Kingdom, Europe, Canada, Australia, Africa, Asia,
    and South America. A list, focusing primarily on
    American resources, entitled Criminal Justice
    Links (http// is
    also maintained by Dr. Greek. Research Guide to
    International Law on the Internet, International
    Criminal Law (http//
    MLAW.htm)  The University of Bologna, Faculty of
    Political Science created a series of research
    guides on topics such as the United Nations, the
    European Union, International Organizations,
    Peace Security, Human Rights, International
    Criminal Law, Environmental Law, Law of the Sea,
    Air Space Law and International Trade Law

Private International Law
  • UNCITRAL The United Nations Commission for
    International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)
    (http// , which was established
    by the General Assembly in 1966, is the active
    catalyst for some of the most significant work in
    the progressive harmonization of private
    international law. The UNCITRAL site, maintained
    in English, French, Spanish, and Chinese,
    contains primary documents and status information
    about established instruments such as the United
    Nations Convention on Contracts for the
    International Sale of Goods (CISG)
    con.htmTOP) along with its related Convention on
    the Limitation Period in the International Sale
    of Goods (http//
    les/limitcon.htmTOP ), and the 1958 "New York"
    Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of
    Foreign Arbitral Awards (http//

Private International Law
    the International Institute for the Unification
    of Private Law, traces its origins to the League
    of Nations and is today an autonomous
    international organization active in the
    harmonization of private international law.
    English and French, the working languages of
    UNIDROIT, are both represented on its Internet
    site. The Internet site includes full text and
    status information concerning UNIDROIT
    Conventions such as the 1988 Ottawa Conventions
    on International Financial Leasing
    s.htm) and International Factoring
    t.htm), and the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on
    Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects

Private International Law
  • Hague Conference on Private International Law
    The Hague Conference on Private International
    Law (http//, which traces its
    origins to a 1893 conference convened by the
    Government of the Netherlands, is active in the
    development of conventions in various areas of
    private law, addressing topics ranging from
    traditional topics such as conflict of laws and
    judicial assistance to contemporary issues such
    as intercountry adoption and child abduction.
    Current work of the Hague Conference includes the
    protection of incapacitated adults and the
    recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments
    in civil and commercial matters. 

International Organizations more UN stuff
  • UN-I-QUE (United Nations Info Quest "a database
    created by the Dag Hammarskjøld Library to
    provide quick access to document symbols/sales
    numbers for UN materials (1946 onwards) it does
    not give full bibliographic details nor does it
    replace existing bibliographic databases (UNBIS,
    UNBIS Plus on CD-ROM) produced by the Library
    UN-I-QUE focuses upon documents and publications
    of a recurrent nature annual/sessional reports
    of committees/commissions monographic series
    journals annual publications reports
    periodically/irregularly issued reports of major
    conferences statements in the General Debate
  • AccessUN (Readex United Nations Index - of UN
    documents and publications from 1966 to 1998
    subscription service)
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP Gopher
    provides full texts of General Assembly (GA)
    Resolutions from the 36th to 49th Sessions,
    Security Council (SC) Resolutions from 1974 to
    1996, Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
    Resolutions from 1982 to 1994 under "United
    Nations Documents", and many other useful
    documents and information on the United Nations

International Organizations (2)
  • United Nations Global Statistics
  • Cour Internationale de Justice International
    Court of Justice (ICJ official web site includes
    Statute, judgments, advisory opinions, orders,
    press communiques/releases (on the "What's New"
  • International Court of Justice 1946-1996 (50th
    Anniversary guide to the ICJ online - e-book)
  • International Court of Justice (ICJ at Cornell
    University Law School official U.S. mirror web
    site includes Statute, judgments, advisory
    opinions, orders see also the World Court
    Project and the NGO Committee on Disarmament's
    World Court Excerpts - "Verbatim Excerpts of Oral
    Statements to the International Court of Justice
    on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear
    Weapons" (1995))
  • Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA official web
    site includes documents related to the
    Eritrea-Yemen Arbitration)
  • Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA at Cornell
    University Law School)
  • International Criminal Court (UN's ICC web site
    see also resource page with links to Internet
    resources and print publications on the ICC)
  • International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR
    war crimes was at http//
  • International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia
    (ICTY war crimes)

International Organizations (3)
  • Final Report Commission Of Experts Established
    Pursuant To Security Council Resolution 780
    (1992) (the UN Commission of Experts on Former
    Yugoslavia's Final Report is appended to the
    "Letter dated 24 may 1994 from the
    Secretary-General to the President of the
    Security Council", S/1994/674)
  • International Law Commission (ILC)
  • United Nations Crime and Justice Information
    Network (UNCJIN includes documents related to
    the UN Draft Convention Against Transnational
    Organized Crime)
  • United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice
    Research Institute (UNCRI)
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Treaty Bodies Database (United Nations High
    Commissioner for Human Rights includes General
    Comments, Reports, etc.)
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
    (includes links official documents of the UNHCR
    and national legal information via REFWORLD)
  • International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC
    includes database and CD-ROM with full texts of
    treaties, rules, commentaries on International
    Humanitarian Law (IHL) see also the People on
    War Project campaign page to commemorate the 50th
    Anniversary of the Geneva Conventions and
    Humanitarian Web Sites)

International Organizations (4)
  • The War-Torn Societies Project (WSP includes
    searchable bibliographic database of policy
    documents and evaluation reports as well as
    research reports and articles from various
    multilateral and bilateral agencies, research
    institutes and academics "A specialized,
    annotated listing of literature from around the
    world", including materials on women's rights)
  • Institute for International Law of Peace and
    Armed Conflict Instituts für Friedenssicherungsr
    echt und Humanitäres Völkerrecht (IFHV,
    Ruhr-University Bochuml includes European
    Master's Degree Programme in Human Rights and
    Democratization and list of the Bochumer
    Schriften zur Friedenssicherung und zum
    Humanitären Völkerrecht publication series)
  • ReliefWeb (information service for the
    Humanitarian Relief Community ReliefWeb is a
    project of the United Nations Office for the
    Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA))
  • World Trade Organization (WTO includes dispute
    settlement news and reports see also the WTO and
    U.S. Official websites for the Third Ministerial
    Conference, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A., 30
    November-3 December 1999)
  • World Trade Organization Panel Decisions
  • World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO
    treaties are at http//
    x.htm includes link to CLEA database (Collection
    of Laws for Electronic Access)

International Organizations (5)
  • International Labor Organization (ILO see also
    official U.S. mirror web site at Cornell
    includes links to ILO's NATLEX database of
    national labor legislation abstracts and
    bibliographies (also at http//,
    Legislative Information (monthly bulletin
    summarizing labor and employment laws worldwide),
    ILOLEX (database of international labor
    standards, conventions, etc.), and other labor
    databases see also Washington Branch Office and
    ILO Watch)
  • FAO Legal Office (Food and Agriculture
    Organization includes links to legal texts, FAO
    Legal Papers Online, legislative studies
    publications, and FAOLEX (database indexing
    worldwide legislation on food, agriculture, land
    tenure, etc.), and FISHLEX (database of coastal
    requirements for foreign fishing or national
    fisheries law)
  • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP see
    also the IUCN-World Conservation Union
    Environmental Law Programme joint project, the
    ECOLEX database of national environmental
  • European Patent Office (EPO)
  • European Union (EU EUROPA page including full
    texts of EU Treaties, Green Papers and links to
    bilateral and multilateral trade agreements,
    policy instruments, and other documents)
  • Task Force for Accession Negotiations (European
  • Justice and Home Affairs (includes Cooperation in
    electronic commerce, asylum, organized crime,
    policing, preventing in trafficking in drugs,
    human beings, etc.)
  • European Parliament Home Page
  • Research Newsletter (DG4 papers European

International Organizations (6)
  • Legislative Observatory (OEIL, European
  • European Union Law Page (EUR-Lex EU treaties,
    legislation, ECJ case-law)
  • Court of Justice of the European Communities (ECJ
    cases in EU all languages formerly at
  • Library, Research, and Documentation (Court of
    Justice of the European Communities (ECJ) page
    with full text of the Brussels Convention and the
    Lugano Convention and related case-law, Digest of
    Community Case-Law, Index A-Z (numerical and
    alphabetical index of cases before the Court of
    Justice and the Court of First Instance since
    1953), alphabetical index of subject matter of
    legal issues, ECJ case annotations)
  • CELEX (EU treaties, legislation (regulations,
    directives, decisions), preparatory acts, COM
    documents, parliamentary questions, case-law,
    etc. database need password to access)
  • Official Journal of the European Communities (OJ
    Legislation (L) and Information and Notices (C)
  • Bulletin of the European Union (Bull EC European
  • Directory of Community Preparatory Acts
    (analytical index, but includes some full texts
    of COM Documents, e.g., Commision Proposal -
    COM(97)0093 final)
  • COM Documents (list and full text from the OJ C
  • EUR-OP (Office for Official Publications
    includes EUR-OP News)
  • European Union Policies (citations to national
    implementing measures - via SCAD Plus)
  • Fundamental Rights (Council of the European

International Organizations (6)
  • Directorates-General (DGsEuropean Union)
  • Treaty of Amsterdam (done at Amsterdam on 16-17
    June 1997, signed on 2 October 1997, European
    Commission Doc. CONF/4001/97, O.J. Eur. Comm. C
    340/1 (1997), 37 I.L.M. 56 (1998)(International
    Legal Materials), 1997 BDIEL AD LEXIS 15 (Basic
    Documents of International Economic Law), pending
    ratification by all EU member states, not yet in
    force as of 13 May 1998)
  • Amsterdam Treaty 98 (Irish Government,
    Referendum Commission)
  • Irish Presidency's Draft Treaty Document (The
    European Union Today and Tomorrow)
  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
    Development (OECD)

International Organizations (7)
  • Council of Europe (CoE news, texts adopted,
    conventions, and other info, including a list of
    ratifications of treaties by state at
    http// was
    at http// which still works see also
    Guide to Researching the Council of Europe).
  • Committee of Ministers (Council of Europe
    includes steering and ad hoc committees)
  • Human Rights Web (Council of Europe, Directorate
    of Human Rights, including the Human Rights
    Information Bulletin)
  • Human Rights Web (Council of Europe's Human
    Rights Web Site at http//
    - replaces http//
  • Minority Issues (Council of Europe, Directorate
    General of Human Rights, Secretariat of the
    Framework Convention for the Protection of
    National Minorities and of the DH-MIN)
  • European Commission of Human Rights (ECommHR
    includes reports)
  • European Court of Human Rights (ECHR/CEDH
    judgments, press releases, basic texts, etc.,
    including the HUDOC database containing the full
    text of judgments of the Court, decisions and
    reports of the Commission and resolutions of the
    Council of Ministers from 1959 to last month was
    at http// see also EchrNet
    The Human Rights Directory)
  • European Committee for the Prevention of Torture
  • European Free Trade Association (EFTA including
    EFTA Court)
  • Central European Free Trade Association (CEFTA)
  • North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)

International Organizations (8)
  • Organization for Security and Co-operation in
    Europe (OSCE see also OSCE Prague Office, High
    Commissioner for National Minorities (HCNM)
    Office for Democratic Institutions and Human
    Rights (ODIHR))
  • Office of the High Representative in Bosnia and
    Herzegovina (OHR includes the full text of their
    Human Rights Reports see also Patterns of Human
    Rights Violations in the Federation of Bosnia and
    Herzegovina of the Ombudsmen of the Federation of
    Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  • Organization of African Unity (OAU)
  • Organization of American States (OAS Charter,
    information about treaties, resolutions, and
    other OAS Documents also Andean Community,
    NAFTA, GATT, and WTO decisions via SICE Dispute
    Settlement page, and Latin American Intellectual
    Property Laws and Bilateral Investment Treaties
    (BITS) of the Western Hemisphere)
  • Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR)
  • NAFTA Secretariat (North American Free Trade
  • International Monetary Fund
  • World Bank (includes links to Policy Research
    Working Papers and the Economic Development
    Institute (EDI) now World Bank Institute (WBI)
    Working Papers see also their Law Library)

International Organizations (9)
  • G7 Information Centre (now G8 University of
  • International Intergovernmental Organizations
    (IGOs links via Northwestern University Library)
  • Yahoo "International Organizations" links

Domestic US Sites
  • Agencies
  • Congress
  • State Law

Government Agencies
  • U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC
    including full text of the Harmonized Tariff
    Schedule of the United States) Office of the
    United States Trade Representative (USTR) U.S.
    Department of Commerce U.S. International Trade
    Administration (ITA, U.S. Department of Commerce)

Government Agencies (2)
  • Private International Law Data Base (PILDB, U.S.
    Department of State Hague Conventions, UNCITRAL,
  • U.S. Department of State (includes Country
    Reports on Human Rights Practices, Treaties in
    Force The National Security Archive (includes
    full texts of declassified documents via
    Electronic Briefing Books on Chile, China,
    Guatemala, Cuba, Japan, NATO, India, etc.)
  • United States Information Agency

Government Agencies (3)
  • U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC
    including full text of the Harmonized Tariff
    Schedule of the United States)
  • Office of the United States Trade Representative
  • U.S. Department of Commerce
  • U.S. International Trade Administration (ITA,
    U.S. Department of Commerce)

Government Agencies (4)
  • U.S. Customs Service (Department of the Treasury)
  • Private International Law Data Base (PILDB, U.S.
    Department of State Hague Conventions, UNCITRAL,
    UNIDROIT, OAS, etc. was at http//
  • U.S. Department of State (includes Country
    Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1999,
    Treaties in Force, Current Treaty Actions, the
    full text of Foreign Relations of the United
    States (FRUS) volumes (see, for instance, Freedom
    of Information Act (FOIA) "Electronic Reading

Government Agencies (5)
  • The National Security Archive (includes full
    texts of declassified documents via Electronic
    Briefing Books on Chile, China, Guatemala, Cuba,
    Japan, NATO, India, etc.)

Government Agencies (6)
  • Committee on Foreign Relations (United States
  • Committee on International Relations (United
    States House)
  • Congressional Human Rights Caucus
  • United States Statutes At Large
  • Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
    (CSCE, or U.S. Helsinki Commission includes the
    full text of their CSCE Digest, a newsletter
    including reports on human rights in European

Government Agencies (7)
  • STAT-USA (U.S. Department of Commerce databases -
    includes the National Trade Data Bank and the
    Economic Bulletin Board)
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
  • The Bureau of Export Administration (U.S.
    Department of Commerce)
  • Export-Import Bank of the United States
  • Bureau of Census (international trade statistics)
  • Committee on Foreign Relations (United States
    Senate) Committee on International Relations
    (United States House)

  • http//