International Law: A Pathfinder

Updated by

Renee Y. Rastorfer
Head of Research Services

September 2014




International law often is divided into two subcategories: public international law and private international law. Public international law is generally defined as that body of rules or laws that regulates the interactions or relations among nations. It is usually nations (called "states" in international law) that are the subject of international law rather than individuals, corporations, or other entities. Private international law is the practice of domestic law across international boundaries, normally involving private individuals or entities. This subcategory governs the relationships between private parties in areas such as torts, business, taxation, and property. Private international law includes conflict of laws, the body of rules that determines which country's courts can hear a dispute and which country applied to the legal issues involved in the dispute. The term domestic law refers to that body of law applied within a nation as its own internal law. Foreign law concerns the domestic law of a foreign nation applied within its own territory; so when a U.S. citizen refers to foreign law, he is speaking of law outside of our Anglo-American common law system.

This Pathfinder concentrates on public international law. 


In researching a problem in international law, an encyclopedia, a law review article, or a treatise can help define and analyze the specific issues involved. After identifying the question, the international law researcher must ascertain whether a treaty exists that relates to the subject matter. Treaties are formal agreements among nations, and today international law rules are found primarily in treaties. It will often be important to discover if a treaty controls your research topics and if so, to locate and interpret the relevant provisions.

Further research may be necessary in the areas of customary law and general principals of law accepted by civilized nations. Customary law is present when there is a course of action followed by nations over time, and that particular practice is viewed by these nations as binding upon them. The body of international law originally grew as new customary rules were developed, but over the past 100 years treaty-made rules became the dominant source for international law rules. There is not one resource for locating international customary law; a researcher locates evidence of customs in judicial decisions, scholarly writings in the field of international law, and collections of diplomatic correspondence.

International law researchers may also look at general principles common to the major legal systems of the world. Even if not reflected in customary law or international agreement, these principles may be invoked as supplementary rules of international law. Examples are the rule of res judicata, rules of fair procedure, and the rule that no one may be judge in his own cause.

When a U.S. court arrives at a decision, the rules stated are considered binding in the particular jurisdiction. In the international legal system, however, court opinions are considered only persuasive in determining applicable rules. Therefore, if researching an international law issue, court opinions will be helpful as evidence of rules of law, but will not provide binding precedent.

The international law researcher will also want to utilize the writings of scholars in the field. Outside the Anglo-American legal system, scholarly writings are considered much more authoritative and contribute greatly to the growth and development of the law as European scholars played such a large part in the development of international law in general.

Lastly, international organizations, such as the U.N. Security Council and the U.N. General Assembly, may occasionally adopt resolutions that are framed in a legal format. Under U.S. practice, these resolutions are not a source of international law per se, but may become rules of international law if embodied in a treaty or by gradually developing into a rule of customary international law through continual practice.


Treaties are formal agreements between countries. They may also be referred to as accords, compacts, conventions, charters, covenants, or protocols. Bilateral treaties are agreements between two countries; multilateral treaties are agreements among more than two countries.

The executive branch has the responsibility for drafting and negotiating treaties. Once an agreement is reached, and a treaty is signed, it does not automatically come into force. The treaty must receive approval by a two-thirds vote of the Senate. If the Senate approves the treaty, it is ratified and proclaimed by the President. Treaties that are signed but not ratified are called unperfected treaties; they may still be important, however, because countries may choose to follow their provisions even without ratification. Executive agreements, although similar in form and effect to treaties, are made by the President under the authority to conduct foreign affairs and do not require the advice and consent of the Senate.

When researching a treaty several steps are necessary: (1) locating an authoritative text; (2) ascertaining whether the treaty is in force and for what parties; (3) interpreting the treaty finding the legislative history and judicial interpretations; and (4) verifying and updating the status of the treaty. These steps are explained below.
Locating an Authoritative Text:  U.S. Treaties - Full Text Sources

The following section lists sources for finding treaties to which the United States is a party, starting with online sources.
Treaties in Force: An efficient resource for locating a treaty or executive agreement to which the United States is a party is the State Department's Treaties in Force website. Treaties in Force (TIF) contains not only treaties but other international agreements to which the United States has become a party and which are carried on the records of the Department of State as being in force as of TIF's stated publication date. TIF is arranged in two sections with Section 1 including bilateral treaties and other international agreements listed by country or other international entity and Section 2 listing multilateral treaties and other international agreements to which the United States is a party, arranged by subject. As noted on the State Department's website, the depositary for a treaty is the authoritative source for a current list of parties and the overall status of the agreement.

HeinOnline's Treaties and Agreements Libraries. HeinOnline provides page images of U.S. treaties and other international agreements to which the U.S. has been a party. In addition, HeinOnline includes the actual page images of thousands of unpublished treaties and agreements. Treaties and agreements that are no longer in force are also available. Included in the database are: United States Treaties and Other International Agreements (U.S.T.), Treaties and Other International Acts Series (T.I.A.S.), U.S. Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United States of America (Bevans), KAV Agreements (treaties and agreements entered into by the United States since 1950 that have not yet been published in U.S.T. or T.I.A.S. which have been assigned a unique KAV number to aid in their identification), and International Legal Materials since 1962.

LexisNexis. "U.S. Treaties on Lexis" (USTRTY) provides the full text of U.S. treaties from 1776 to the present, and includes international treaty materials published in Bevan's Treaties and Other International Agreements from 1776-1949; U.S. Treaties and Other International Agreements (U.S.T.) from 1949-1984; Treaties and Other International Acts Series (T.I.A.S.) from 1985 on; slip documents (treaties and international agreements released by the U.S. Department of State, but not yet printed in T.I.A.S.; and Treaty Documents (treaties transmitted to the Senate for consideration, usually including transmittal messages from the President and the Secretary of State).
Westlaw. The USTreaties database provides the full text of international and American Indian treaties to which the U.S. government is a party. Coverage begins with 1778 and includes international treaty materials published in Statutes at Large from 1778 (vol. 8) through 1949 (vol. 64); United States Treaties and Other International Agreements from 1950 (U.S.T.) (vol. 1) through 1984 (vol. 35, pt. 4); Treaties and Other International Acts Series (T.I.A.S.) beginning with 1984 (T.I.A.S. No. 10979); Senate Treaty Documents beginning with 1993 (S. Treaty Doc. No. 103-21); State Department documents beginning with 1989 (State Dept No. 90-1); and American Indian treaties published in Statutes at Large from 1797 (vol. 7).

Senate Treaty Documents Series. This series (which was called Senate Executive Document Series before 1981) contains the text of treaties as sent to the Senate for its advice and consent. The Senate Treaty Documents usually contain a message from the President and the Secretary of State about the treaty. Treaties appearing in the Senate Treaty Documents Series are indexed by Congressional Information Services (CIS). Access is through subject matter of treaty, title of treaty, the heading "Treaties and Agreements" and the treaty document number assigned by the Senate. The CIS Index gives a citation to the CIS Microfiche set where the full text of the treaty is located. The Senate Treaty Document Series is also available on the web from the 104th Congress on, and indexed in LexisNexis, and on Westlaw beginning with 1993 (S. Treaty Doc. No. 103-21).

International Legal Materials. [Legal Periodicals, 2d Floor]. Selected treaties are published in full text, often the first and only place they are published until the treaties are officially released. This print legal periodical is also available on LexisNexis from 1975 forward, on Westlaw from 1980 to present, and on HeinOnline from 1962-2002.

Treaties and Other International Acts Series ("T.I.A.S. ")
[KZ 235.3 .U55, 3rd Floor]. Treaties and executive agreements are published in consecutively numbered pamphlets, and each treaty is assigned a unique T.I.A.S. identification number. T.I.A.S. pamphlets are later reprinted by the GPO in the bound United States Treaties and Other International Agreements (see infra) with the original T.I.A.S. number retained for each treaty. Note there is a time lag between signing and publication. All published T.I.A.S. agreements are also available on HeinOnline, more recent agreements are available on WestlawNext beginning with 1984 (T.I.A.S. No. 10979), and on LexisAdvance beginning with 1985. Also available online provide by the State Department.

T.I.A.S., which includes both treaties and executive agreements, was preceded by two separate pamphlet series:

l. Treaty Series (TS) (1908-1945) contains both treaties and executive agreements until October 1, 1929. After that date Treaty Series was limited to treaties and international agreements that were submitted to the Senate. The documents in this series are Nos. 1 to 994.

2. Executive Agreement Series (EAS) (1929-1945) began publication to include the executive agreements that were dropped from the Treaty Series. It ended publication on March 16, 1945. It includes Nos. 1 to 506.

The first number in T.I.A.S. is No. 1501 since the numbers of the two prior series combined reaches 1500.

United States Treaties and Other International Agreements ("U.S.T."). [KZ 235.3 .U55, 3rd Floor]. This set is the permanent form of official treaty publication. It began in 1950 and cumulates T.I.A.S. documents in the same way the Statutes at Large cumulates slip laws in chronological order. The number of volumes published each year varies. Each volume contains a noncumulative index arranged by subject and country. There is a long delay between ratification and publication. This set was intended to be published as an annual cumulation, but it is very behind schedule. Westlaw, Lexis, and HeinOnline include all international treaty materials published in U.S.T.

Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United States of America, 1776-1949 ("Bevans"). [KZ 236 .T74, 3rd Floor].  
This 13-volume set contains treaties and international agreements from 1776 to 1949. Volumes 1-4 contain a chronological arrangement of multilateral treaties and agreements. Volumes 5-12 contain bilateral treaties and agreements, arranged alphabetically by the signatory country. Although each volume has a brief index, volume 13 has an index to the entire set by country and subject. This set, covering the period before the U.S.T. began in 1950, is also available on HeinOnline and on Lexis.

U.S. Statutes at Large. [Stack 230B] The publication of treaties in the Statutes at Large has a varied background. Volume 8 of the Statutes contains a compilation of treaties entered into between 1778 and 1845. From 1846 until 1903, the publication of treaties was irregular. From 1903 to 1949, treaties were regularly printed. Beginning in 1931, the Statutes include executive agreements. Indian treaties from 1778-1842 are collected in volume 7, with later treaties in subsequent volumes. Inclusion of treaties and agreements in the Statutes ended in 1949 when U.S.T. began publication. International treaty materials published in Statutes at Large from 1778-1949 are also available on Westlaw.

U.S. Treaties - Indexes

U.S. Senate Treaties. This source indexes treaties received from the President, treaties on the Executive Calendar, treaties approved by the Senate, and listings of other recent treaty actions, including treaties that were rejected by the Senate or withdrawn by the President, during the current Congress.

Statutes at Large. Volume 64, Part 3, B1 107 et seq. contains a listing of all treaties and agreements included in Vols. 1-64 (1789-1949), except those signed with Indian tribes. The treaties are arranged alphabetically by country.

HeinOnline. This database, described supra, provides indexing to treaties and agreements to which the U.S. has been a party.

U.S. Treaties - Status

After locating a treaty, the researcher must determine the status of the treaty. This involves determining the parties of a multilateral agreement, entry into force date, and locating any amendments to the original agreement. Since this information may evolve continually over time, locating the current status of treaties is a challenging task. In Congress, treaties are one type of legislation which does not lapse at the end of each Congress but continues on the calendar of the Committee until it is withdrawn by the Executive branch. Thus, it is possible that a treaty could remain on the Committee's calendar for years with no action being taken.

CCH Congressional Index
. [Ref. J 69 .C6] This 2-volume loose-leaf set is issued for each Congressional session. The Senate volume contains a status table of treaties that are pending before the Senate with latest action taken. The status table, updated weekly, is one of the most valuable sources for determining status of pending treaties. The listing also includes references to Senate Foreign Relations Committee reports and hearings. The treaties are listed in chronological order by the session of transmittal and are subdivided by Executive Document letter for pre-1981 transmittals and post-1981 by the Treaty Document number. If this information is not known, there is a subject index to the treaties which precedes the status table.

U.S. Senate Legislation and Records, Treaties.
This website provides indexes to unratified, but pending, treaties. It also lists treaties submitted by the President to the Senate before they are announced elsewhere and supplies signature dates, descriptions, and treaty document numbers. Notification of status changes in treaties during the past month are also furnished, including treaties that were rejected by the Senate or withdrawn by the President during the current Congress.

Treaties in Force. [KZ235 .T74 ] This annual has been published by the Department of State since 1950. It is a current index to U.S. treaties in force as of Jan. 1 of that year. If available, citations are provided to Statutes at Large, U.S.T., T.I.A.S., Bevans, United Nations Treaty Series, and League of Nations Treaty Series. Bilateral treaties are listed in the first part of the index alphabetically by country, and then by subject under each country. The second part of the index lists multilateral treaties alphabetically by subject and also provides the parties to the treaties alphabetically by subject. Each entry lists the title of the agreement, the date it was signed and entered into force, and citations to treaty series where it appears. Also available on LexisNexis and Westlaw

[Note: The 1991 edition of this title is in microfiche and can be found in that collection; the rest are hardcopy]. (TIF is also available on the web, but the electronic version is no more current that the print. Since TIF is only published once a year, use Current Treaty Actions to update TIF.) The paper version is available in the Library.

Information about current treaty actions may be obtained by contacting the Treaty Office of the Department of State at 202-647-1345.

U.S. Treaties - Legislative History

The use of legislative history documents to interpret ambiguities in treaties and to ascertain the intent of a treaty can be an important step in international law research. When a treaty or other international agreement requires implementing legislation in order for it to become an effective part of U.S. domestic law, legislative history research is useful. The Senate Committees, other than the Foreign Relations Committee, and House of Representative Committees, can be involved in researching this type of legislative history. For the method and sources of compiling a legislative history, refer to our Legislative History Pathfinder.
Only the Senate is involved with treaties. One source of particular importance not covered by the Legislative History Pathfinder is Senate Executive Reports. These reports are issued by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to which treaties are assigned after transmittal. The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations issues a report published as a Senate Executive Report. As with other committee reports, an analysis of the treaty and the committee's recommendation as to approval by the entire Senate is provided. Senate Executive Reports are published in a separately numbered series for each Congress. The Reports also are available in ProQuest Congressional (one of the Law Library's databases), and selectively in ILM and United States Code Congressional and Administrative News. United States Treaty Index 1776-1990 Consolidation, discussed supra, contains legislative history information where available.

U.S. Treaties -Judicial Interpretation

The sources described in this section enable the researcher to ascertain if a treaty has been (1) interpreted by the courts, (2) the subject of legislative action, or (3) amended.

United States Code Service
. [Stack 230A] USCS contains an unnumbered volume for uncodified laws and treaties. In this volume treaties are listed by the year of ratification and annotations are provided to federal and state court decisions interpreting or discussing treaties.

LexisNexis and Westlaw. Use these online sources as citators. Search using keywords from the name of a treaty in order to find cases arising under or interpreting a treaty. However, these online sources will not provide amendments or other changes in the status of the treaty.

United States Treaty Index 1776-1990 Consolidation
(with a 1995 revision), (KZ235 .U58 ) discussed more fully, supra, contains references to amending, extending, relating, extended by and amended by Agreements by treaty number. Cancelled in 2002.

Senate Treaty Documents. Senate, House & Treaty Documents are available on the web from the 104th Congress on. These documents include the text of treaties submitted by the executive branch to the Senate for its advice and consent, together with supporting documentation. Senate Treaty Documents are also available in the Serial Set, LexisNexis and Westlaw. Prior to 1981, these documents were called Senate Executive Documents.

Senate Executive Reports. These reports are issued by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to which treaties are assigned after transmittal. The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations issues a report published as a Senate Executive Report. As with other committee reports, an analysis of the treaty and the committee's recommendation as to approval by the entire Senate is provided. Senate Executive Reports are published in a separately numbered series for each Congress and are available in the Serial Set [Z1223.Z9 C65], in ProQuest Congressional (one of the Law Library's databases), and selectively in ILM and United States Code Congressional and Administrative News.

West Digests. Problems of international law frequently come before U.S. courts; thus one may find international law cases through the usual means of access to U.S. case law. For example, the West digests assign the topic "Treaties" to cases which apply to interpreting treaties.

U.S. Treaties - Secondary Sources

Digests of International Law

The four sources listed below are published by the U.S. Department of State and include not only case digests from the U.S. and other countries but also excerpts from treaties, periodical articles, and documents of international organizations. The encyclopedic nature of the volumes and the renown of the compilers make these works scholarly treatises on international law.

Wharton's Digest- 3 vols., 1886. [KZ237.7.D54 W43 1887]

Hackworth's Digest - 8 vols., 1940-1944. [KZ237.7 .H33 1940]

Whiteman's Digest - 15 vols., 1963-1973. [KZ237.7 .D54]

Digest of United States Practice in International Law -annual, 1973+. [KZ 21 .R68]
This can be updated by "Contemporary Practice of the United States Relating to International Law," a regular feature of the American Journal of International Law. The digest topics are those used in the annual volumes of the above series.

Restatement (Third) of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States. [Reserve KF4650 .A231; LexisNexis; and Westlaw]
Published by the American Law Institute, this set contains an unofficial but highly respected summary of United States law and practice in this field.

The Commentaries on the Restatement (Third) of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States. [Reserve KF395.A2 F6762 1992 ]
This source might provide insight into the publications described above.

Foreign Relations of the United States (1861+)
.  [KZ233 .U54]
This compilation of official papers provides a comprehensive record of material concerning negotiation and adoption of treaties. It is prepared by the Historical Office of the U.S. Department of State. Unfortunately, there is a time lag of about 5 years between issuance of these documents and their publication in this set.

American Foreign Policy
. This series prints documentary compilations on a more current basis. Included are:

A Decade of American Foreign Policy: Basic Documents 1941-1949. (also available on ProQuest Congressional).
American Foreign Policy, 1950-1955: Basic Documents, 2 vols. [KZ 231 .U557 1957]
American Foreign Policy: Current Documents [1956-1967]. [available at D'Amour JX 1417.A33KZ 231]
American Foreign Policy: Basic Documents, 1977-1980. [availabe at D'Amour, JX1417.A33]
American Foreign Policy: Current Documents (1981+). [available at D'Amour, JX1417.A33/year]

Journals. International Legal Materials (ILM) and American Journal of International Law (AJIL). ILM is a bimonthly publication which often includes the text of significant treaties, agreements, and declarations, and other documents soon after their appearance, often in a draft format. [Legal Periodicals, LexisNexis, and Westlaw]. ILM expands and supplements the American Journal of International Law, an authoritative, quarterly journal,
published since 1907 by the American Society of International Law that frequently publishes similar documents of permanent value. [Legal Periodicals, LexisNexis, and Westlaw]. Selective, recent court decisions are often included in both publications.

Non-U.S. Treaties - Full Text Sources

United Nations Treaty Collection. This database contains both the United Nations Treaty Series (UNTS) and the publication Status of Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary-General. The UNTS includes the texts of both bilateral and multilateral treaties that have been registered and published by the United Nations Secretariat since 1946. The collection currently contains over 50,000 treaties. The Status of Multilateral Treaties includes information about who has signed, ratified, acceded or lodged declarations, reservations or objections to treaties deposited with the
Secretary-General. The databases provide various search options. Multilateral treaties may be accessed by relevant chapter and sub-chapter, by subject, and by the General Table of Contents. The UNTS is also accessible by keyword, as well as date of adoption/conclusion, participants, and the popular name of agreement.

The Consolidated Treaty Series, 1648-1920. [KZ120 .P35] This series contains a collection of world treaties in their original language and existing translations in English or French. This series includes indexes by party and date but not by subject.

League of Nations Treaty Series (LNTS), 1920-1945. [Part of the United Nations Treaty Collection] This series contains texts of treaties of member and non-member nations that were registered with the Secretariat of the League.

A Collection of International Concessions and Related Instruments (Paul Fischer, ed. 1976) (1976-1983) [K3836.A35 C641 1976 ] and A Collection of International Concessions and Related Instruments (Paul Fischer, ed. Contemporary Series 1981) (1981-1988) [K3836.A35 C642 1981]. Together these two series include agreements that may not fall within the strict definition of a treaty. The series are viewed as a companion set
to The Consolidated Treaty Series.

Non-U.S. Treaties - Indexes

United Nations Treaty Collection. See supra. As this is a database, it provides indexing and full text.

World Treaty Index, 1900-1980, 5 vols. [KZ173 .R65 1983] This set provides access to treaties in the LNTS, UNTS, and other national collections. Treaties are indexed by citation, serial number, title, party, and date of signature. For U.N. and L.N. treaties further indexing covers entry into force, official languages, registrants, amendments, and reservations. Volume 4 covers only UNTS topics, Volume 5 is a subject index to the entire set.

Non-U.S. Treaties - Status

United Nations Treaty Collection
. See supra. This source includes status information. Contact the United Nations Treaty Office at 212-963-5047 for the most up-to-date status.


Decisions of International Tribunals

Permanent Court of International Justice ("PCIJ"). This Court was established by the League of Nations and functioned from 1922 to 1940. The PCIJ's official documents consist of the following:

Series A. Collection of Judgments (1922-30).
Series B. Collection of Advisory Opinions (1922-30).
Series A/B. Judgments, Orders and Advisory Opinions (1931-40).
Series C. Acts and Documents Relating to Judgments and Advisory Opinions Given by the Court (1922-30); Pleadings,
Oral Statements and Documents (1931-40).
Series D, E, & F. Includes documents governing the PCIJ, annual reports, and indexes, respectively.

Documents of the PCIJ are also available in the following sources:

World Court Reports. (Manley O. Hudson, ed.). This four volume set includes judgments, orders, and opinions of the PCIJ with editorial summaries, legal analysis, and a bibliography of official publications. [KZ209 1934]

Annual Digest of Public International Law Cases. [KZ199 .I58] This set contains 16 volumes and is the predecessor to International Law Reports.

International Court of Justice ("ICJ"). This Court was created by the Charter of the United Nations, however, its jurisdiction can extend to all states, even non-U.N. members, if they accept its jurisdiction. It is the successor to the Permanent Court of International Justice.


Reports of Judgments, Advisory Opinions and Orders. [1947-1975 Microform Area; 1976+KZ214 .I58; Westlaw]
International Court of Justice Yearbook. [KZ6273 .I68] - This series includes lists of all cases the Court has dealt with and all judges that have served on the Court since 1946.

Records and Briefs

Pleadings, Oral Arguments and Documents. [1948-1976 Microform Area; 1977+ KZ218 .P54]

Decisions of Regional Tribunals

Court of Justice of the European Union

from the Court of Justice are available on the Court's website, dating back to its inception. Note there is a drop down menu that can be used to complete the box entitled "subject matter."


Compendium of Case Law Relating to the European Communities 1974 - 1976. [KJE923.7 .C66 1976-1978]. This volume includes extracts of judgments from the Court of Justice and summarized decisions of national courts rendered during the year. The summaries and extracts are arranged in chronological order under the provisions of Community law to which they relate, and may be useful for historical research.

Council of Europe

European Court of Human Rights

This Court was established in 1959 to hear cases referred from the Commission or from a member state of the Council of Europe. Documentation of this Court is issued as follows:

Series A - Judgments and Decisions.
A separate publication of Judgments is available at [KJC5138.A5 E931]. In addition selected decisions are available in LexisNexis and online at the Court's website.

Series B - Pleadings, Oral Arguments, Documents
The Digest of Strasbourg Case-Law Relating to the European Convention on Human Rights is a multi-volume set which is updated by loose-leaf supplementation and is the case finding tool for Commission and Court decisions. [KJC5132.A52 D54]

Case Law of the European Court of Human Rights
(Victor Berger, ed. 1989+). [KJC5132.A52 .B47 1989] This work now covers cases from 1959 to 1993. For each of the cases, there is a summary of the facts together with a summary bibliography. Also noted are changes effected in national law and procedure as a result of the decision. Further supplementation is planned.

Organization of American States

Inter-American Court of Human Rights
: This Court was established in 1979 by the American Convention on Human Rights in order to interpret and apply the Convention as well as other Inter-American human rights treaties. The decisions of the Court are reported officially in:

Series A - Judgments and Opinions. [KDZ574.A52 I58]

Series B - Pleadings, Oral Arguments, and Documents
. [KDZ574.A52 I581]

Series C - Decisions and Judgments. [KDZ574.A52 I582]

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

This Commission was established in 1959 as an autonomous entity of the Organization of American States but in 1970 it became one of OAS principal organs. The Commission hears complaints of individuals and institutions alleging violations of human rights in American countries and investigates such complaints. It submits annual reports to the General Assembly and prepares special reports on the status of human rights in member countries. The reports of the Commission can be located in Human Rights: The InterAmerican System


Constitutions of the Countries of the World. This database contains a separate entry for each country, which contains either an official English version or an English translation of the document. The text of the Constitution is accompanied by a constitutional chronology and an annotated bibliography. Use is limited to the Western New England University School of Law community; a user name, barcode number, and PIN are required for off-campus access.

Independence Documents of the World
. [K3157.A2 B6] This two-volume set collects and reproduces the documents which mark the founding or establishment of most of the nations of the world through 1977. While most of these birth certificates are reprinted in their entirety, a few are excerpted. Excerpts are used when the document declaring the independence is a portion of that nation's constitution or when the document contains provisions which deal with matters that go beyond the independence process.

WILDPAC. The Law Library's catalog, WILDPAC, can be an excellent place to begin your research and to locate secondary sources. To locate available treatises on the topic of international law generally (when you do not have a specific title) try searching by the subject heading "international law." When you have a more specific topic, such as the "World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty," search the term under keyword, by entering the entire phrase. This will retrieve treatises the library has that focus on that particular treaty. If your research is on a specific topic within international law (for example, human trafficking), do a keyword search "human trafficking." Once you locate relevant titles, peruse the subject headings used in these records and then try a subject search. Note: If you locate titles of books or articles during your research via sources other than WILDPAC and discover that the Law Library does not own a title, you may request an interlibrary loan. The Library will try to either borrow the title or have the article copied for you. Turnaround time for an interlibrary loan can be as little as a few days or as long as three weeks. Because it is difficult to predict the time, allow as much lead time as possible when using this service. You may fill out an interlibrary loan form, available at the Reference and Circulation Desks and online.

Selected Internet Sources

University of Minnesota Human Rights Library
: This well regarded site contains a vast array of some of the most important international human rights treaties and other instruments; general comments, recommendations, adjudications, advisory opinions, and views of human rights treaty bodies. Also included are material on the work of other United Nations human rights bodies and a list of links to over 800 other sites.

United Nations
: This web site contains documents, information resources, information on publications, etc. Especially useful are the selected General Assembly and Security Council Resolutions. Two subdivisions of the page worth using are the section on International Law and the section on Human Rights.

Organization of American States
: This web site continues to grow and to add very useful and otherwise hard to find information including the documents of the Inter-American Human Rights system and the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights. Basic documents of the OAS also are available.

International Court of Justice
: This site provides the docket of the Court, basic documents and publications, and most importantly a link to all cases and advisory opinions referred to the Court since 1946.

United States Department of State
: This site is mapped into several sections. The State Department contains informationabout the Secretary and the Department of State and FOIA information. "Policy Issues," "Country and Regions," and the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices can be very useful. 

ASIL Guide to Electronic Resources of International Law: An excellent resource for many substantive areas of international law.



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