Subjects of International Law


Subjects of International Law can be described as those persons or entities who possess international personality. Throughout the 19th century, only States qualified as subjects of international law. After, the Second World War, more and more new actors emerged in the international legal arena such as the intergovernmental organizations created by States, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) created by individuals, multinationals and even natural persons (i.e. individuals). These can now be considered as having to a large or sometimes limited extend the capacity to become international persons.

This Research Guide is intended as a starting point for research on Subjects of International Law. It provides the basic legal materials available in the Peace Palace Library, both in print and electronic format. Handbooks, leading articles, bibliographies, periodicals, serial publications and documents of interest are presented in the Selective Bibliography section. Links to the PPL Catalogue are inserted. The Library's systematic classification → Subjects of international law and subject heading (subject heading Subjects of International Law is instrumental for searching through the Catalogue. Special attention is given to our subscriptions on databases, e-journals, e-books and other electronic resources. Finally, this Research Guide features links to relevant websites and other online resources of particular interest.


Reference works


Leading articles

Systematic classification → Subjects of international law


New titles

1. Non-state actors and international obligations
Non-state actors and international obligations : creation, evolution and enforcement / edited by James Summers and Alex Gough. - Boston ; Leiden : Brill, 2018. - 1 online resource (xxxvi, 487 pages) Introduction / James Summers -- Treaty obligations of collective non-state entities : the case of the deep seabed regime / Klara Polackova van der Ploeg -- The East India Company : non-state actor as treaty-maker / Michael Mulligan -- Armed non-state actors and customary international law / Agata Kleczkowska -- Ad hoc commitments by non-state armed actors : the continuing relevance of state consent / Eva Kassoti -- Exploring the borderlands : the role of private actors in individual in international cultural law / Valentina Vadi -- Shaping the Convention on Biological Diversity : the rising importance of indigenous peoples within the Nagoya protocol on access and benefit-sharing / Federica Cittadino -- Exploring the future of individuals as subjects of international law : the example of the Canadian private sponsorship of refugees programme / Ekaterina Yahyaoui Krivenko -- Redefining the position of the investor in the international legal order and the nature of investment treaty rights : a closer look at the relationship between diplomatic protection and investor-state arbitration / Javier García Olmedo -- Tracing the human rights obligations of UN peacekeeping operations / Simone F. van den Driest -- An elephant in the room : the scrutiny of the United Nations in the practice of the European Court of Human Rights / Gintaré Pažereckaité -- The business and human rights regime under international law : remedy without law? / Ioana Cismas and Sarah Macrory -- International human rights law and territorial non-state actors : cases of the Council of Europe region / Natalia Cwicinskaja -- The impact of non-state actors' intervention in investor-state arbitration : a further study / Emily Choo -- The Brčko arbitration : a process for lasting peace between non-state actors / Tomas Vail -- International law and the global public interest: ICANN's independent objector as a mechanism of responsive global governance / Adamantia Rachovitsa -- The relevance of article 9 of the Articles on State Responsibility for the Internationally Wrongful Acts of Armed Groups / Katharine Fortin -- State responsibility, "successful" insurrectional movements and governments of national reconciliation / Tatyana Eatwell -- Does an armed group have an obligation to provide reparations to its victims? : construing an obligation to provide reparations for violations of international humanitarian law / Paloma Blázquez Rodríguez -- Prosecuting members of transnational terrorist groups under article 25 of the Rome Statute : a network theory approach to accountability / Anna Marie Brennan -- NGO's in terrorism cases : diffusing norms of international human rights law / Jeffrey Davis. - Includes bibliographical references and index. - 2018
Keywords: International obligations, Human rights,

Librarian's choice

  • Kjeldgaard-Pedersen, A., The International Legal Personality of the Individual, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2018.

    The international legal personality of the individual

    The first monograph to offer a comprehensive study of the relationship between international legal personality as a theoretical construct and the way in which individuals have been taken into account in the practice of international law

    Identifies and explains the four main theoretical conceptions of international legal personality and relates each of them to the question of the distinction between international and domestic legal norms

    Provides a comprehensive and easily accessible overview of how individuals have been taken into account in international law as a matter of positive norms.

    Challenges the existing narrative concerning the development of the role of the individual in the international legal system

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  • Is Sudan set for a divorce?

    Sudan has a history of protracted conflict between the predominately Muslim north and the largely Christian south. On 9-15 January 2011, the citizens of Southern Sudan took part in a referendum to determine if they wish to become an independent state. Although South Sudan has been an autonomous region since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) […]

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  • The Influence of NGOs on International Law

    From a traditional point of view, International Public Law has been understood as a set of rules produced by states in order to regulate relations between them. Since the end of the Cold War, the role of NGOs in international law is growing in importance and their activities are reaching the remotest parts of the world. In this blog, I will briefly discuss how NGOs have transformed international law as well as how they continue to contribute to the development of international law.

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See also

More Research guides on Public International Law

PPL keywords

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Systematic classification → Subjects of international law