Main regulation

General International Law

Vienna Convention on the Law of the Treaties (1969)

Draft articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts, with commentaries

Charter of the UN and the Statute of the ICJ

International Humanitarian Law

The Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols

International Human Rights Law

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

European Convention on Human Rights

International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights.

International Convenant on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights

 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

Convention on the Rights of the Child

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families

 International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance

International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

International Criminal Law

The Charter and Judgment of the Nürnberg Tribunal – History and Analysis: Memorandum submitted by the Secretary-General

ICTY Statute

ICTR Statute

ICC Statute (with the modifications of the Kampala conference).

International Law of the Sea



LOSC: characteristics

LOSC/UNCLOS: characteristics

  • Long-time of negotiations that this treaty has required.
  • Package-deal treaty (no reservations are allowed).
  • Long-running (1973- 1982); through Committees on topics. E.g. fisheries.
  • Negotiation by consensus: coupled with consensus decisión-making means that the entire convention was a finely balanced set of trade offs between different interest groups. However, the adoption of the final text was not adopted by consensus- the US forced to vote, because this State and other industrialised countries have doubts concerning the Deep seabed mining regime (International Seabed Authority –ISA-). Tension between developing states and highly industrialised states. The result was the so-called implementation agreement of 1994. It created a simplified ISA: developed states would have greater influence and mining corporations would pay much lower royalities. This had this strange result, though, of amending the Deep seabed mining regime before UNCLOS came into force.
  • The package-deal: no picking and choosing.
  • Huge subject matter (the result was a vast an seemingly comprehensive convention, referred to by Ambassdor Tommy Koh as a “constitution for the oceans”

Regulation (International Law of the Sea)

Convention on the Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone,
Convention on the Continental Shelf,
Convention on the High Seas
Convention on Fishing and Conservation of Living Resources of the High Seas
A SUCCESS = the breadth of TS
2.- UNCLOS II.- Unsuccessful.
3.- UNCLOS III or so-called UNCLOS, or LOSC
* UNCLOS = United Nations Conference of the Law of the Sea
* LOSC: Law of the Sea Convention/ Law of the Sea Treaty.
* Spanish acronym: CONVEMAR

History (International Law of the Sea)

1. Cino de Pistoia: ube et isqo et inferos — sea?
2. Ancient times: is the sea res nullius? Can we apply here the modes of acquisition that we have studied before concerning the land?
– mare liberum (Hugo Grotius): only a limitation to that assertion – the 3 mile-limit (the canon shot rule)
– Truman declaration.- President Harry S. Truman in 1945 extended United States control to all the natural resources of its continental shelf.

Drawing the baselines (International Law of the Sea)

  • Normal baselines. The normal baseline is the low-water line along the coast
  • Straight baselines: a system of straight lines joining specified or discrete points on the low-water line, usually known as straight baseline turning points, which may be used only in localities where the coastline is deeply indented and cut into, or if there is a fringe of islands along the coast in its immediate vicinity. This method consists of selecting appropriate points on the low- water mark and drawing straight lines between them. Limits: i) the drawing of baselines must not depart to any appreciable extent from the general direction of the coast as it is the land which confers upon the coastal State a right to the waters off its coasts; ii) certain sea areas lying within these lines are sufficiently closely linked to the land domain to be subject to the regime of internal waters; iii) certain economic interests peculiar to a region, the reality and importance whicha are clearly evidenced by long usage, should be taken into consideration.


Specific rules + combined with the rules above-mentioned:

  • Bays: only applicable to normal baselines system
    • Bay bordered by a single State.
      • Juridical bays: Semi-circle whose diameter is a line drawn across the mouth of that indentation. For the purpose of measurement, the area of an indentation is that lying between the low-water mark around the shore o the indentation and a line joining the low-water mark of its natural entrance points. If there is an island across the mouth of the bay, it will be counted as 12 &12 nm.
      • Historical bays.
    • Bays bordered by more than one State: alternatives:
      • Bilateral agreement: the coastal State share internal waters.
      • Normal baselines system must be applied.


  • River: across the mouth of the river (it does not matter if there is a single riparian State or two riparian States). Applicable to normal baselines system as well as the straight baselines system.


  • Port: permanent harbour works. Installations and artificial islands must not be considered as permanent harbour works. Applicable to normal baselines system as well as the straight baselines system.


  • Islands: is a naturally-formed are of land, surrounded by water, which is above water at high tide. Exception: rocks which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own shall have no exclusive economic zone or continental shelf.


  • Low-tide elevation is a naturally formed are of land which is surrounded by and above water at low tide but submerged at high tide.


*** Archipelagic waters: the right of innocent passage + the right of archipelagic sea lanes passage.




  1. Lighthouse: it is relevant. Above-water.
  2. Low-tide elevation on an island: irrelevant. It is necessary to pick up parts of the island that are above-water.
  3. Artificial island: irrelevant for delimiting baselines.
  4. Port: relevant. It consists of permanent harbour works.
  5. Roadstead: not relevant for drawing baselines, but they are included in the Territorial Sea in accordance with art. 12 LOSC: «Roadsteads which are normally used for the loading uploading and anchoring of ships, and which would otherwise be situated wholly or partly outside the outer limit of the territorial sea, are included in the territorial sea»
  6. Harbour works: only relevant if they are permanent.
  7. Reefs: not relevant for drawing baselines, but they are included in the Territorial Sea in accordance with art. 6 LOSC: «In the case of islands situated on atolls or of islands having fringing reefs, the baselines for measuring the breadth of the territorial sea is the seaward low-water line of the reef, as shown by the appropriate symbol on charts officially recognized by the coastal State»
  8. River: the line must be drawn across the mouth. Applicable to normal + straight baselines systems.
  9. Island: look for the low-water mark.



The United Nations

The United Nations.

It is the International Organisation by excellence.

a) Definition. The United Nations is an international organization founded in 1945.  It is currently made up of 193 Member States.  The mission and work of the United Nations are guided by the purposes and principles contained in its founding Charter.

b) Regulation. The United Nations Charter or the Charter of the United Nations.

c)Main organs and functions.

Under article 7 The main organs of the UN are:

  • the General Assembly (GA)
  • the Security Council (SC)
  • the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
  • the Trusteeship Council
  • the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and
  • the UN Secretariat.

All were established in 1945 when the UN was founded.


1) The General Assembly (GA) :

  • Regulation: Chapter IV of the UN Charter (arts. 9 to 22).

2) The Security Council (SC)

  • Regulation: Chapter V of the UN Charter (arts. 23 to 32).

3) The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) 

Regulation: Chapter X of the UN Charter (arts. 61 to 72).

4) The International Court of Justice (ICJ) 

  • Regulation: Chapter XIV of the UN Charter (arts. 92 to 96).
  • Statute of the International Court of Justice.

5) The UN Secretariat 

  • Regulation: Chapter XV of the UN Charter (arts. 97 to 100).

6) The  Trusteeship Council 

  • Regulation: Chapter XII of the UN Charter (arts. 75 to 85); Chapter XIII of the UN Charter (arts. 86 to 91).


An IGOs must satisfy the following conditions to have legal personality under IL.

  • It must be a permanent association of States.
  • It must be created to attain certain objectives.
  • It must have administrative organs.
  • It must exercise some power that is distinct from the sovereign power of its MS (Member States).
  • Its competences must be exercisable on an international level and not confined exclusively to the national systems of its member States.

Case:  Reparation for Injuries Suffered in the Service of the United Nations (Advisory Opinion). The UN is entitled with objective legal international personality.

**** Specific note: IOs have international personality in basis of their constitutive international agreements, which confer State´s sovereignty to IOs ( implied or explicit powers- principle of conferral).