International Law Handbook

International Law HandbookThe International Law Handbook was prepared by the Codification Division of the Office of Legal Affairs under the United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 70/116 of 14 December 2015.

Ambassador Emmanuel K. Dadzie of Ghana proposed the establishment of this programme when he served as Vice-Chairman of the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly at its 18th session in 1963. Following efforts led by Afghanistan, Belgium, Ghana and Ireland, the General Assembly decided, by resolution 2099 (XX) of 20 December 1965, to establish the Programme of Assistance to contribute towards a better knowledge of international law as a means of strengthening international peace and security and promoting friendly relations and cooperation among States.

The International Law Handbook is a collection of instruments used by the Codification Division as study materials for its training courses under the Programme of Assistance. This publication was prepared to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the Programme in 2015 and to promote the teaching and dissemination of international law around the world. It is available on the United Nations Programme of Assistance website as well as the Audiovisual Library of International Law free of charge. It may be reproduced for academic purposes to further the teaching and dissemination of international law anywhere in the world.

The International Law Handbook is intended to be used as a general work of reference. It comprises four books:

  • Book One contains the Charter of the United Nations and the Statute of the International Court of Justice, as well as instruments relating to the law of treaties, subjects of international law, diplomatic and consular relations, international responsibility, peaceful settlement of international disputes, international peace and security, international human rights law as well as movement of persons and international migration law. (see also French version)
  • Book Two contains instruments relating to the law of armed conflict, international criminal law as well as disarmament and non-proliferation. (see also French version)
  • Book Three contains instruments relating to the law of the sea, international environmental law and international watercourses. (see also French version)
  • Book Four contains instruments relating to international labour law, law of cultural relations as well as international trade and investment law. (see also French version)

For ease of reference, each book includes an overview of the content of all four books, as well as a detailed table of contents for each respective volume.

The present collection of international instruments is not exhaustive. The texts incorporate amendments and corrections to the instruments subsequent to their entry into force, as appropriate, and whether or not the amendments have entered into force for all parties. Only the texts of the instruments as kept in the custody of the respective depositary constitute the authentic versions. The International Law Handbook is issued for information and educational purposes only.