International Human Rights Law Video Library

Welcome

Welcome to the International Human Rights Law Video Library (IHRLVL) The Library has video holdings of interviews with leading commentators and practitioners in the field of international human rights. Further, the Library has video clips of visits to various sites which provide insights into the manner in which international human rights law functions.The IHRLVL is one of the resources of the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law.

The topics covered include subjects of international law, sources of international law, the UN human hights system, regional human rights systems,  national human rights institutions, peaceful settlement of international disputes, international criminal law and some theories, perspectives and concepts related to international law.

The IHRLVL has interviews with, amongst others:

Dr. Ibrahim A. Badawi;

Judge Thomas Buergenthal;

Professor Christine Chinkin;

Judge Navanethem Pillay;

Professor William Schabas; and

Professor David Weissbrodt

Subjects of International Law

From the Peace of Westphalia (1648) till the creation of the United Nations system, it was considered that the 'State' was the sole subject of international law: that international law only applied as between States. States, as the subjects of international law had international personality which meant that they had the right to have their claims respected internationally.

The International Court of Justice, in its 1949 Reparations of Injuries Advisory Opinion, confirmed that other entities could be subjects of international law. Though it made plain that while States possess all the rights and duties on the international plane, that other entities such as Inter-Governmental Organizations, as well as the individual, and Multi-National Corporations, might posses rights and duties which States would ascribe to them.

The State

James Crawford, Whewell Professor of International Law, University of Cambridge, author of the The Creation of States in International Law, speaks about the State and the notion of effectivité.

James Crawford,The Creation of States in International Law 2006.

Reference is ordinarily made to Article 1 of the 1933 Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States as being indicative of the criteria required to be established as a State in international law:

The state as a subject of international law should possess the following qualifications:

a) a permanent population;

b) a defined territory;

c) government; and

d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.

Population and Territory

Vatican City, established by the 1929 Lateran treaties, is the smallest State in the world consisting of 106 acres; there are only 200 citizens and it is represented by its government -- the 'Holy See' -- in international relations.

Despite its limited size (territory) and non-perpetuating citizenship (population) Vatican City has an effective government and is recognized by more than 150 States, making it a full-fledged member of the community of States.

Recognition - The "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus"

In law, a State must fulfill two objective and two subjective criteria. It must have a population and territory. But beyond these, it must meet the subjective assessments of other States as to whether it has effective control over that population and territory by means of a government, and the ability to carry out international relations. This final criterium is manifested through other States 'recogning' a new State as becoming a member of the club of States.

The issue of ‘recognition' as an attribute of the State was at the heart of a visit to the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in November 2003. Although this entity has a population, territory and a government asserting effective control, no other State beyond Turkey recognizes this ‘State', which came into being as a result of an invasion by Turkish forces in 1974. As such, the vast majority of the international community does not recognize it as State.

Inter-Governmental Organizations

Inter-Governmental Organizations are entites that are constituted by States, have States as their members and are based on a constitutive treaty. In the 1949 Reparations of Injuries case, the International Court of Justice recognized that the United Nations (like other IGOs) has 'functional personality'; that is: legal personality to the extent required to carry out the tasks which States have assigned to it.

The International Law Video Library dedicates a page to various IGOs and considers the various issues which may well be unique to specific inter-govermental organizations. To visit the site: click here

The Individual

As a subject of international law, the individual has both rights and obligations. Rights are manifest in International Human Rights Law, while obligations are generally encompassed within International Criminal Law.

Sources of International Law

What are the sources of international law? That is: how is international law created?

Typically, one would point to Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice, as Judge, and current President of the International Court of Justice, Rosalyn Higgins does below.

Judge Rosalyn Higgins here introduces the sources of international law.

If you wish to see the whole interview with Rosalyn Higgins, click here .

Article 38(1)(a) -- Treaties

"international conventions, whether general or particular, establishing rules expressly recognized by the contesting states;"

Reservations to Treaties

Thomas Buergenthal, Judge at the International Court of Justice, speaks about reservations to treaties.

If you wish to see the whole interview with Thomas Buergenthal, click here.

Article 38(1)(b) -- Custom

"international custom, as evidence of a general practice accepted as law;"

Local Custom and the Passage over India Case

On location, your host, Jean Allain, discusses the notion of a local or bilateral custom and how it manifested itself in the Passage over Indian Territory case.

Article 38(1)(c) -- General Principles

"the general principles of law recognized by civilized nations;"

Article 38(1)(b) -- As subsidiary means: judicial decisions and scholarship

"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. "

State Responsibility

Professor James Crawford, Whewell Professor of International Law, University of Cambridge, acted as Special Rapporteur on State Responsibility from 1997 to 2001 and guided the International Law Commission towards successfully completion of its work of on State Responsibility.

Professor James Crawford introduces himself, the considers his work, and that of the International Law Commission, in formulating the 2001 Articles on State Responsibility.

The Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes

Adjudication -- International Courts

Judge Higgins of the International Court of Justice

Judge Rosalyn Higgins speaks about the nomination process of judges to the International Court of Justice and goes on to speak about the history of the World Court -- i.e.: Permanent Court of Justice (1920 -1946) and the International Court of Justice (1945) --the law which is applicable before it (ie: sources found at Art. 38 of the Statute of the ICJ), and its jurisidiction (see Article 36 of the Statute).

Judge Higgins then speaks about procedural issues, the judges and their background, the daily functioning of the Court, and finally the value of a judgement rendered by the Court .

Judge Thomas Buergenthal of the International Court of Justice

Judge Buergenthal, considers the International Court of Justice, its jurisdiction and the collegiality within the Court; he then considers the manner in which the judgements of the Court may be enforced.

Issues of jurisdiction in the Passage over India Case

On location, your host Jean Allain considers issues of jurisdiction which arose during the preliminary phase of the Passage over Indian Territory case.

Adjudication -- Quasi-Judicial Bodies

Appellate Body -- WTO Dispute Settlement Panel

Professor Georges Abi-Saab, Member of the Appellate Body and former Chair, introduces himself, speaks of his time at the Graduate Institute of Graduate Studies, then considers dispute settlement within the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the relationship between the WTO and International law.

Disarmament

What role does international law play in issues of disarmament? Consider the following video clips of eminent persons in the field, discussing issues of weapons of mass destruction, and the international organizations which seek to limit their numbers and use.

Noble Peace Prize Laureate Joseph Rotblat introduces himself, the Pugwash Conference and discusses the winning of the Noble Prize. Professor Rotblat then considers international security in the pre- and post- nuclear age, during the Cold War, and after.

Professor Rotblat considers the role of international law as it relates to nuclear weapons and the relevance of the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Use or Threat of Use of Nuclear Weapons.

Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

Lisa Tabassi, Legal Officer in the Technical Secretariat of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) located in the Hague, speaks of the history of the banning of chemical weapons through to the establishment of the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

Ms. Tabassi, introduces the function of the OPCW, and goes on to explain the obligations of States Party to incorporate the CWC within their domestic legal system. Ms. Tabassi then goes on to explain what a chemical weapon is, their possible use by non-State actors, and a day in the life of a Legal Officer at the OPCW.

Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization

Peter Hulsroj, Legal Advisor to the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organizations (CTBTO) speaks about his Organization and his role as the legal advisor in an organization dedicated to non-proliferation.

Mr. Hulsroj considers the role of an inter-governmental organization which has been established before its treaty has come into force; the obligations this creates on States which have signed (but not ratified) the treaty and the relationship between the CTBTO and its arms-length relationship with the United Nations.

International Criminal Law

Phillippe Kirsch, President of the International Criminal Court, sat down for an interview in September 2005 in which he introduced himself, and went on to give the historical background of the creation of the International Criminal Court.

President Kirsch then when on to explain how the Court functions, its structure, and finally gave a status report of the Court's activities as of 2005.

1994 ILC Draft Statute for an International Criminal Court

James Crawford , Whewell Professor of International Law, University of Cambridge, considers his time at the UN International Law Commission as part of the Working Group on an International Criminal Court and the drafting of the 1994 Draft Statute for an International Criminal Court.

The 1994 ILC Draft was source of the drafting process which ultimately lead to the 1998 Rome Diplomatic Conference and the creation of the International Criminal Court.

President of the Rwanda Tribunal (ICTR)

Judge Navanethem Pillay, President of the International Criminal for Rwanda Tribunal (1999 - 2003 ) and later Judge of the International Criminal Court introduced herself and explains why the Rwanda Tribunal was established.

Judge Pillay speaks about the legacy which the ICTR will leave in respect to the evolution of international jurisprudence, and discusses the means by which the ICTR will finish its work.

Judge of the International Criminal Court

Judge Pillay (elected in 2003) speaks of the history of the ICC, its jurisdiction and her role as an Appellant Judge, and the process of being elected a judge of the ICC. Judge Pillay was then asked to consider what the largest challenge is to the success of the International Criminal Court.

Judge of the Yugoslav Tribunal (ICTY)

Judge Patrick Robinson, trial judge at the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia speaks of his extensive international legal career, including the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights .

Judge Robinson then consider the ICTY, its applicable law and his time presiding over the Milosevic Trial.

Humanitarian Law before International Courts

James Stewart, formerly with the Prosecutor's Office at the ICTY and ICTR explains that the rule of IHL will only truly develop when they are applied by international courts.

This video is taken from the ICRC website. See other videos on the ICRC website regarding Accountability.

International Humanitarian Law

The International Committee of the Red Cross has a number of videos which deal with issues of humanitarian law. These can be accessed through their website. The following are a number of such videos:

Louise Doswald-Beck, Secretary-General of International Commission of Jurists (as found on the the ICRC website) speaks of the relevance of the 1977 Additional Protocols.

For additional discussion on the Additional Protocols, visit the ICRC webpage devoted to the subject.

Application of IHL

James Stewart, formerly with the Prosecutor's Office at the ICTY and ICTR explains that the rule of IHL will only truly develop when they are applied by international courts.

See other videos on the ICRC website regarding Accountability.

See also videos related to international criminal law found on this website.

Inter-Governmental Organizations

The African Union

The Legal Counsel of the African Union, Mr. Ben Kioko sat down for an interview at the Headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in January 2004. He explained the main differences between the African Union and its predecessor the Organization of African Unity .

Mr. Kioko went on to speak about the different organs established under the African Union, including the Peace and Security Council, the Pan-African Parliament, the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, the Court of Justice and finally the Economic and Social Council. Mr. Kioko concluded his interview by explaining the functions of his role as Legal Counsel and the work that his Office undertakes.

World Heatlh Organization

The Legal Counsel of the World Heatlh Organization, Gian Luca Burci, considers the WHO and its relationship to international law. He considers the role of the WHO's Assembly with regard to law-creation, reservations, the move within the WHO to establish an Anti-tobacco treaty and how it emerged.

Mr. Burci concludes his interview by considering a typical week in his working life.

Non-Governmental Organisations

The Indian Society of International Law

The President of the Indian Society of International Law, Ram Niwas Mirdha sat down in November 2004 to discuss his Society.

Beyond introducing the various functions of the Indian Society and his working day; Professor Mirdha considers the relevance of international law in the Indian context and a "Third World Approach to International Law" .

International Commission of Jurists

In this translated interview, the Deputy Secretary General (Legal Affairs) of the ICJ, Federico Andreu Guzman, discusses the work of the Commission, its history and function and the manner in which the International Commission is organised.

Theories, Perspectives, and Concepts

Various theories of international law are considered on this page, as a means of seeking to widen the scope of study of the discipline. Authors and experts consider international law from a number of different perspectives and explain fundamental concepts.

Feminist Approach to International Law

Christine Chinkin, Professor of International Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), discusses the feminist approach to international law.

If you wish to see the whole interview with Christine Chinkin, click here.

The Third World Approach to International Law (TWAIL)

Ram Niwas Mirdha, President of the Indian Society of International Law, considers the Third World Approach to International Law from an Indian perspective.

If you wish to see the whole interview with Ram Niwas Mirdha, click here.

Complementarity

Phillippe Kirsch, President of the International Criminal Court, discusses the concept of 'complementarity'

If you wish to see the whole interview with Phillippe Kirsch , click here .

jus cognes

Professor Georges Abi-Saab of the Gradute Institute of International Studies of the University of Geneva and the WTO Appellant Body considers jus cogens.

If you wish to see the whole interview with Georges Abi-Saab, click here.

Monism/Dualism

Lisa Tabassi, Legal Officer at the Organization for the Prohibtion of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), discusses the issue of dualism as it applies to the work of the OPCW.

If you wish to see the whole interview with Lisa Tabassi, click here .

Reservations

Judge Thomas Buergenthal of the International Court of Justice, speaks about reservations to treaties.

If you wish to see the whole interview with Thomas Buergenthal, click here .

Responsibility

Professor James Crawford speak about responsibility

If you wish to see the whole interview with James Crawford, click here .

Sovereignty

Professor Georges Abi-Saab of the Gradute Institute of International Studies of the University of Geneva and the WTO Appellant Body discusses the concept of sovereignty.

If you wish to see the whole interview with Georges Abi-Saab, click here.

stari decisis

Thomas Buergenthal, Judge at the International Court of Justice, considers the doctine of stari decisis.

If you wish to see the whole interview with Thomas Buergenthal, click here .