International Organizations - Spring 2007
Professor Bartram Brown


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Law 315-001-03                                                                                Prof. B. Brown
M, W, Th 12:50-1:45 PM                                                                    Office 855
Classroom C25                                                                                 Tel. 906-5046

A. Course Description

       This course will focus upon the legal and policy issues raised by the development and functioning of intergovernmental organizations. It will encompass a course in United Nations law and a comparative study of international organizations organized over 14 weeks. Issues relating to rulemaking, trusteeship, human rights, dispute settlement, and enforcement will be central to this course. Parallel with the discussion of these themes the focus each week will be upon a different organization, from a list including the UN, the World Bank, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Association (WIPO), the European Union (EU), the African Union (EU) and the Organization of American States (OAS). It will consider, among other topics, the privileges and immunities of international organizations, relations between the United States and the United Nations, the past role of and future composition of the Security Council, and the recent restructuring of the U.N. human rights mechanisms.

B.  Texts:

Frederic L., Jr. Kirgis, International Organizations in Their Legal Setting, West; 2nd edition (American Casebook Series), ISBN: 0314016430

Frederic L., Jr. Kirgis, International Organizations in Their Legal Setting: Selected Documents, West, ISBN: 0314018174

A number of handouts will also be assigned and made available on the class website


C.  Course Requirements and Grading

       The first few class sessions will consist largely of lectures and class discussion about the nature, structure and functioning of international law and organization in general.  At this stage, the goal will be to ensure that all students in the course have a basic grasp of what international law is, and of how it is created and develops.  After the first week or so we will shift to a more seminar-like format emphasizing student participation. 

       In addition to the assigned readings, the class will discuss topics from current events relating to the law of international organizations.  Every student is expected to contribute to this discussion by briefly researching and presenting at least one such topic to the class.  Topics should be defined ahead of time in consultation with me.  Everyone will be expected to contribute to the discussion in class.  Students will be evaluated and graded on the basis of their overall contribution to discussions as well as on the basis of the presentations, and of course the final exam

       Attendance and participation are absolutely essential.  Unexcused absences will result in a reduced grade or failure according to the circumstances.


Topics and Readings

l. The History of International Law and Organization: A Basic Framework

Leo Gross, The Peace of Westphalia, 1648 -1948, 42 AM. J. Int’l L. 20 (1948).

Frederic L. Kirgis, Jr., Enforcing International Law, The American Society of International Law Newsletter, January 1996

Jose E. Alvarez, Centennial Essay: In Honor Of The 100th Anniversary Of The AJIL and the ASIL: International Organizations: Then And Now , 100 A.J.I.L. 324, (2006)

A First Look at the United Nations

Read: The UN Charter

Consider what are the key aspects of the structure, and of the mission of the United Nations?  Is the mechanism adequate to achieve the mission? 

Text pages 1-21 (on the Legal Status of International Organizations)


ll. Voting Procedures in International Organizations

Voting and Decision-Making

Text pp. 188-237

The Bretton Woods Institutions: The World Bank and IMF

B. S. Brown, IMF Governance, the Asian Financial Crisis, and the New International Financial Architecture, Chapter  in International Law in the Post-Cold War World: Essays in Memory of Li Haopei (2001)

Text pages 295-302, 564-575


lll. Membership, Representation & Withdrawal

Text pp. 137-158, 176-187

Withdrawal or Withholding of Financial Support

Text pp. 238-257


Text pages 257-273, 576-581

Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, Adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO on 19 October 2005

JOHN R. CROOK, editor Contemporary Practice Of The United States Relating To International Law: International Economic Law: United States Supports New UNESCO Instruments on Doping in Sports and on Bioethics; Votes Against New Convention on Cultural Diversity

Herman Nys, Towards an International Treaty on Human Rights and Biomedicine? Some Reflections Inspired by UNESCO’s Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, 13 European Journal of Health Law 5-8, (2005).


lV. International Technical Cooperation and the Theory of Functionalism; Critiques of International Organizations Including Charges of Politicization

WIPO and the ICC as Technical and Political Organizations Respectively

B.S. Brown, On the Politicization of International Criminal Law (2007)

Edward Kwakwa, Essay: Some Comments On Rulemaking At The World Intellectual Property Organization, 12 Duke J. Comp. & Int'l L. 179, (2002) 7015 words

Leo Gross, On the Degradation of the Constitutional Environment of the United Nations, 77 A.J.I.L. 569 (1983). 

News Articles on UN Critiques

Anne Bayefsky, Good-bye UN hello United Democratic Nations, The Jerusalem Post, September 19, 2006, at page 15.

Deaglán de Bréadún, Despite its many flaws and failings, the world still needs the UN, The Irish Times, September 18, 2006, p. 14.

Jonah Goldberg, U.N. is unfit to fix things in Middle East, The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio), July 26, 2006 at Pg. 11A.


V. Rule Making Powers

Text pp. 274-275, 333-387

The UN Security Council and General Assembly

Stefan Talmon, Note And Comment: The Security Council As World Legislature, 99 A.J.I.L. 175, (2005) 14435 words

The Uniting for Peace Resolution, UNGA Res. 377 (V) A (1950), 3 November 1950


Vl. The European Union:  Regional Supranationalism

Thomas Ash, The EU's Future: The Federalism/Intergovernmentalism Debate

NV Algemene Transport v Netherlands, Reference for a preliminary ruling: Tariefcommissie - Pays-Bas. - Case 26-62. Judgment, European Court of Justice (1963)

Rights and Immunities of International Organizations and the Duties of Host Countries

Text pages 54-68, 79-92, 104-121


Vll. Dispute Settlement and Interpretative Powers

Text pp. 415-443,

The International Court of Justice

Statute of the ICJ, Doc. Supplement pp. 37-50, esp. Articles 36, & 65-68. Text pp. 481-521

ICJ Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, 8 July 1996

Adam M. Smith, "Judicial Nationalism" in International Law: National Identity and Judicial Autonomy at the ICJ, 40 Tex. Int'l L.J. 197 (2005).


Vlll. Enforcement Techniques

Text pp. 522-564, 581-600, 617-638, 642-688

The International Labour Organization (ILO)

Junlin Ho, The International Labour Organization's Role in Nationalizing the International Movement to Abolish Child Labor, 7 Chi. J. Int'l L. 337, 2006.
Text pages 274-295, 388-414


lX. Peacekeeping, Peacemaking, Trusteeship & Hegemonic International Law

Text pp. 716-721, 731-785, 841-851
Saira Mohamed, From Keeping Peace To Building Peace: A Proposal For A Revitalized United Nations Trusteeship Council, 105 Colum. L. Rev. 809, (2005)

Hegemonic International Law & Limits Upon the Supranational Powers of the Security Council

Kofi A. Annan, Speech at Truman Library (US) 11 December 2006.

Jose E. Alvarez, EDITORIAL COMMENT: Hegemonic International Law Revisited, 97 A.J.I.L. 873, (2003)

Frederic L. Kirgis, Editorial Comment: Security Council Governance of Postconflict Societies: A Plea for Good Faith and Informed Decision Making, 95 A.J.I.L. 579, (2001)

UNGA Resolution Language

X. Sovereignty and Intervention: Humanitarian Intervention and the Responsibility to Protect

Text pp. 852-890

The NATO Bombing of Serbia – US Intervention in Iraq—UN Response to Atrocities in Darfur

Bartram Brown, Barely Borders, 26 HARV. INT'L REV. 52 (2004). 

Kofi A. Annan, Two concepts of sovereignty, The Economist, 18 September 1999

Richard H. Cooper and Juliette Voinov Kohler, The “Responsibility to Protect:” The New Global Moral Compact,  © 2006.


Xl. Protecting Human Rights Through International Organization (I)

Development of the UN Charter-Based Human Rights System and the New UN Human Rights Council

Text pp. 891-928
Text pp. 955-963, 969-975
UNGA Res 60 251 (2006) Establishing the new Human Rights Council
Articles on the New UN Human Rights Council
Manual of the United Nations Human Rights Special Procedures

The OAS & Inter-American Human Rights System

Text pp. 975-995

William Andrews v. United States, Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, Case 11.139, Report Nº 57/96, Inter-Am. C.H.R., OEA/Ser.L/V/II.95 Doc. 7 rev. at 570 (1997). 


Xll. Protecting Human Rights Through International Organization (II)

The European Human Rights System

Text pp. 1030-1039, 1068-1084 
Soering v United Kingdom, European Court of Human Rights, (1989) 11 EHRR 439, (Series A, No 161; Application No 14038/88).


The African Union and Human Rights (Topic)

Nsongurua J. Udombana, CRITICAL ESSAY: Can the Leopard Change Its Spots? The African Union Treaty and Human Rights, 17 Am. U. Int'l L. Rev. 1177, (2002)

Materials on the New African Court of Human Rights:

African [Banjul] Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (Excerpts)

Dinah Shelton, Analysis of African Commission for Human Rights Decision Regarding Communication 155/96, 96 A.J.I.L. 937 (2002)

Khartoum Unsuitable to Elect African Judges, Africa News, January 20, 2006.

Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, How The Judges Of The African Court Emerged, Accra Mail, January 30, 2006.

PanAfrica; AU Court of Justice to Operate Soon, Africa News, January 25, 2006. 


Xlll. The WTO and the International Organization of Trade

Sungjoon Cho, The Nature Of Remedies In International Trade Law, 65 U. Pitt. L. Rev. 763, (2004)


XlV. Non-Governmental Organizations

Amnesty International

Steve Charnovitz, Nongovernmental Organizations and International Law, 100 A.J.I.L. 348, (2006)