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Mr. Hans Corell
Photo: Eskinder Debebe

Mr. Hans Corell
Ambassador (ret.)
Former Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and the Legal Counsel of the United Nations

Biography Biography in PDF

International Organization
The Role of a Legal Adviser of an
International Organization
My first presentation consists of two parts. In the first part I describe the conditions under which a Legal Adviser works. In the second part, I describe in general terms the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs, its management and staff.

Video | Audio
(22 minutes)

My second presentation also consists of two parts. One in which I share with the audience some of my experiences in the legal field during my 10 years as the UN Legal Counsel between 1994 and 2004 and the role that the UN Office of Legal Affairs played at that time. In the concluding part I sum up with some general reflections on the role of the Legal Adviser based on my 42 years in public service.

Video | Audio
(29 minutes)
International Organization
The Role of a Legal Adviser of an International Organization
A. Legal Instruments
Charter of the United Nations and Statute of the International Court of Justice, San Francisco, 26 June 1945.

Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, New York, 13 February 1946, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1, p.15.

Universal Declaration on Human Rights,Paris, 10 December 1948

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Montego Bay, 10 December 1982, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1833, p.3.

Agreement relating to the implementation of Part XI of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 2, New York, 28 July 1994.

Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Security Council resolution 955 (1994) of 8 November 1995.

B. Jurisprudence
C. Documents
Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs.

The Role of the Legal Adviser of the Department of State, A Report of the Joint Committee Established by the American Society of International Law and the American Branch of the International Law Association, American Journal of International Law, vol. 85, no. 2, 1991, p. 358.

Security Council resolution 986 (1995) of 14 April 1995.

Memorandum of understanding between the Secretariat of the United Nations and the Government of Iraq on the implementation of Security Council resolution 986 (1995), 20 May 1996 (S/1996/356).

Security Council resolution 1192 (1998) of 27 August 1998.

Kofi Annan, Address to the World Economic Forum (Proposing the Global Compact), Davos, 31 January 1999.

Letter dated 29 January 2002 from the Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, the Legal Counsel, addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/2002/161).

D. Doctrine
R. Bilder,The Office of the Legal Adviser: The State Department Lawyer and Foreign Affairs”, American Journal of International Law, vol. 56, 1962, pp. 633-684.

R. Bilder,International Law and United States Foreign Policy: Some Reflections on the ASIL/ILA Report on the Role of the Legal Adviser”, Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems, vol. 1, 1991, pp. 201-208.

H. Corell, “Legal Advisers Meet at U.N. Headquarters in New York”, American Journal of International Law, vol. 85, no. 2, 1991, pp. 371-373.

H. Corell, “Second Legal Advisers’ Meeting at UN Headquarters in New York”, Nordic Journal of International Law, vol. 61, 1992, pp. 3-6.

H. Corell, “Third Legal Advisers' Meeting at UN Headquarters in New York”, American Journal of International Law, vol. 87, no. 2, 1993, pp. 323-328.

H. Corell, “Cooperation Among Legal Advisers on Public International Law”, in: Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee (eds.), Essays on International Law: Fortieth Anniversary Commemorative Volume, Secretariat of the Committeee, New Delhi 1997.

J.R. Crook, “Practicing International Law for the United States”, Florida State University Journal of Transnational Law & Policy, vol. 6, no. 1, 1996, p. 1.  

M.A. Gonzáles Félix, “Fifth Legal Advisers' Meeting at U.N. Headquarters in New York”, American Journal of International Law, vol. 89, no. 3, 1995, pp. 644-649.

G. Guillaume, “Droit international et action diplomatique – Le cas de la France”, European Journal of International Law, vol. 2, no. 1, 1991, pp. 136-147.

M. Krafft, “L’attitude de la Suisse à l'égard du droit international”, European Journal of International Law, vol. 2, no. 1, 1991, pp.148-156.

Legal Advisers of International Organization and Practitioners in the Field of International Law, Collection of Essays by Legal Advisers of States, United Nations, New York, 1999.

R. St. J. MacDonald, The Role of the Legal Adviser of Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Leiden, 1978.

L. Magnuson, “Seventh Legal Advisers’ Meeting at U.N. Headquarters in New York”, Nordic Journal of International Law, vol. 66, 1997, pp. 393-399.

S. Martínez Caro, “La función asesora jurídico-diplomática”, Revista Española de Derecho International, vol. XXI, num. 3, 1968, pp. 499-513.

B. Mawhinney/K. Girtel, “Fourth Legal Advisers’ Meeting at U.N. Headquarters in New York”, American Journal of International Law, vol. 88, no. 2, 1994, pp. 379-382.

H.C.L. Merillat (ed.), Legal Advisers and Foreign Affairs, Dobbs Ferry, New York, Oceana, 1964.

H.C.L. Merillat (ed.), Legal Advisers and International Organizations, Dobbs Ferry, New York, Oceana, 1966.

A. Pérez Giralda, “La asesoría jurídica internacional de gobiernos desde la función pública”,  in: C. Jiménez Piernas (ed.), Iniciación a la práctica en Derecho international y Derecho communitario europeo, Universidad de Alcalá/Marcial Pons, Madrid/Barcelona, 2003, pp. 507-533.

P.S. Rao, “Sixth Legal Advisers’ Meeting at U.N. Headquarters in New York”, Indian Journal of International Law, vol. 36, no. 4, 1996, pp. 75-79.

M. Sapiro, “Advising the United States Government on International Law”, NYU Journal of International Law and Politics, vol. 27, no. 3, 1995, pp. 619-623.

S.M. Schwebel, “Remarks on the Role of the Legal Advisor of the US State Department”,  European Journal of International Law, vol. 2, no. 1, 1991, pp. 132-135.

I. Sinclair, “The Practice of International Law: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office”, in: B. Chang (ed.), International Law: Teaching and Practice, Stevens & Sons, London, 1982, pp.123-134.

A.D. Watts, “International Law and International Relations: United Kingdom Practice”, European Journal of International Law, vol. 2, no. 1, 1991, pp. 157-164.

E.D. Williamson, “International Law and the Role of the Legal Adviser in the Persian Gulf Crisis”, NYU Journal of International Law and Politics, vol. 23 no. 2, 1991, pp. 361-371.

C. Wickremasinghe (ed.), The International Lawyer as Practitioner, The British Institute of International and Comparative Law, London, 2000.

S. Yachi, “The Role of the Treaties Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan's Foreign Policy Decision-Making Process”, The Japanese Annual of International Law, vol. 31, 1988, pp. 82-93.