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POL 428: International Law & Organizations: International Tribunals and Crimes Against Humanity

Dr Marco Rimanelli

This LibGuide is based on a PowerPoint presentation by Dr Marco Rimanelli, Professor of Political Science and International Relations [May 7, 2012, Social Justice Across the Curriculum]

Legal Scholarly Roots


Hugo Grotius (1583-1645), known as the “father of international law." His major work On the Law of War and Peace was published in Paris in 1625.

Gotius believed:


All international relations are subject to the rule of law.


States are rational and law abiding.


States are capable of achieving cooperative goals.

Functions of International Law

Determines globally permissible and non-permissible behavior among states, international organizations & insurgents

Creates an acceptable framework of order based on self-help
Protects the status quo
Legitimizes the use of force by governments
Based on 3 Sources of International Law
General  Customs
General Principles of Law

Sources of International Law

Customs (based on laws some of which are 3000 years old)

Once a practice becomes a custom, all states in the international community are bound by it whether or not individual states have expressly consented ... [Britannica Online Academic ed.]

Treaties (95% of international law)

"A treaty is an express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations." [Wikipedia]

General Principles of Law as recognized by civilized nations. Prohibitions against genocide, slavery, and piracy and the outlawing of aggression are 3 Principles that have compelling Universal Criminal Jurisdiction. [Links to Britannica Online Academic ed.]

Legal Scholarship (from the 1500s to the International Criminal Court at The Hague). See The Avalon Project at Yale Law School. Links to documents from 4000bce to 2000+  

A comprehensive guide, the EISIL Website has multiple links to basic sources, historical materials and other important documents. Provided by the American Society of International Law, this site is "an open database of authenticated primary and other materials across the breadth of international law, which until now have been scattered in libraries, archives and specialized web sites." The user may browse from a list of 13 subjects and hundreds of subtopics or search by category or keyword.

Internet Sources