Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law Logo Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law

You are here: Publications Archive 2002

Tätigkeitsbericht für das Jahr 2002

XIV. English Summary

The Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law was founded in Berlin in 1924 as the>Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht and was re-established in Heidelberg in 1949 within the framework of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Sciences. Currently the directorship of the Institute is held jointly by Prof. Armin von Bogdandy and Prof. Rüdiger Wolfrum who have been directors since 1993 and 2002 respectively. Prof. Jochen Abr. Frowein who has been director since 1981 was given emeritus status in June 2002.

In accordance with the general orientation of the Institute, the members of the research staff are assigned the task of monitoring developments in specific fields of public international law and current trends in the public law systems of specific countries. In addition to participating in the activities of the Institute, every member of the research staff is given an opportunity for individual scholarly development. After several years at the Institute, many full-time members either seek a professorship at a university or a post in a ministry or an international organisation.

For their research work, the members of the Institute can rely upon the service of the library, which is one of the most important in the world in the fields of public international law and foreign constitutional and administrative law. At the end of 2002, the library contained more than 500000 volumes and subscribed to 4000 periodicals (law gazettes, case reports and journals). All the titles available are stored in an electronic databank as part of the "Virtual Institute" project. The library's holdings and electronic resources are open to interested researchers.

The library is an official depositary library for the publications of the United Nations organization. The European documentation centre which stores the official documents distributed by the European Union in German, English and French is linked to the information network of the European Commission. Another pillar of the library is the Treaty databank with its comprehensive list of multilateral and bilateral international agreements. Since the databank contains the treaties of a great number of states and is updated regularly on the basis of information provided by the law gazettes of West European countries it constitutes a unique source of information for the members of the Institute and guest researchers.

During 2002 the library has introduced the new integrated library system Aleph in the cataloguing and acquisitions departments and the Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC). Aleph allows for important improvements in the operating of the library such as electronic lending, integration of specialised library departments, a more precise systematic search for books and articles etc.

Since 1998 the Institute has worked hard to make its resources accessible to researchers world wide via the Internet. The website today offers vital services in the field of comparative public law and public international law, including electronics versions of the "World Court Digest" and other digests, a comprehensive list of links to websites around the world that are of particular relevance to the study of comparative and public international law and a database to facilitate the search for the books, journals and articles on public international law and domestic public law available in the library. The Internet project has attracted the interest of researchers in many countries and has won critical acclaim by several publications specialized in content evaluation of scientific material on the Internet.

The Institute analyzes the development of treaty law and general rules of public international law on the basis of an examination of the relevant practice. The latter is reflected in both the "World Court Digest" (formerly>Fontes Iuris Gentium, Series A, Sectio I), a systematic reproduction of judgments, advisory opinions and orders of the International Court of Justice, and in digests which contain decisions of German courts and of German State organs relating to public international law. In 2002, the third volume of the "World Court Digest" has appeared, reproducing the judgments of the International Court of Justice up to 2000 (see II. C. 1.). Since 1997, the Institute edits an annual publication which covers the development of those areas of international law which are particularly influenced by the activities of the United Nations, the "Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law". Current problems of both comparative and international law are examined regularly in the>Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht ("Heidelberg Journal of International Law"). In addition, a semi-annual bibliography of periodical literature and books in the field of public international law (PIL) has been published since 1975. The titles of books and articles systematically evaluated and classified for PIL are also cumulated in a databank available to the users of the Institute's library.

The "Encyclopedia of Public International Law" (EPIL) is published under the auspices of the Institute under the direction of Prof. Rudolf Bernhardt. The Encyclopedia, which is the first and only work of its kind to appear in English, contains over 1300 articles by more than 490 contributors world-wide on all important legal problems and institutions as well as the major decisions of international courts and tribunals. The four principal volumes of the updated and definitive consolidated library edition have appeared and an index volume is in preparation.

The Institute has been maintaining a close cooperation with various foreign universities and research institutes for a number of years. These include,>inter alia, the Institute for State and Law of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow; the law faculty and the Minerva Center for Human Rights at the University of Tel Aviv; the law faculty of the University of Tirana; the Chair for Public International Law at the University of Cracow (Prof. Lankosz); the Centre for Human Rights in Belgrade; and the Rhodes Academy of Ocean Law and Policy. The cooperation includes lectures and courses given by members of the Institute at the foreign research institutions as well as visits by their professors and students in Heidelberg. Moreover, with some of the institutions previously mentioned, e.g. the Minerva Centre for Human Rights and the Centre for Human Rights in Belgrade, close institutional ties have been established over the years. In 2002, a German-Polish Seminar on the Emerging Constitutional Law of the European Union was held in Cracow (see II. G. 2).

The Institute has traditionally performed important advisory functions to international institutions and to the German government. The Institute is represented by its directors on the Council on International Law and the Council on United Nations policy of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Current and former directors of the Institute have served in a number of major international institutions, including the European Court of Human Rights (Prof. Bernhardt), the European Court of Human Rights and the International Court of Justice (Prof. Mosler), the European Commission of Human Rights (Prof. Frowein), the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (Prof. Wolfrum), the Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (Prof. Wolfrum) and the OECD Nuclear Energy Court (Prof. von Bogdandy). Currently the Institute takes part,>inter alia, in the "Sudan Peace Project" (Prof. Wolfrum), the aim of which is to legally assist and mediate between the Sudanese government in Khartoum and the "Sudanese People Liberation Movement" (see IX. A.). In 2002, Prof. Frowein wrote a legal opinion on the Beneš-Decrees and the accession of the Czech Republic to the European Union (see IX. B.).

From the very beginning, the Institute has focused on an in-depth analysis of major developments in contemporary public international law as well as on advanced research projects in the field of comparative law. As public international law and the domestic systems of constitutional law are increasingly intertwined, comprehensive research in both fields is required in order to gain a full understanding of the structure and functioning of modern states within the framework of the international community. Since the return of many states in Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa to democracy at the beginning of the last decade, the world has witnessed a flourishing of constitutionalism around the globe. The constitutional systems of most countries nowadays at least in theory are based on the respect for fundamental human rights, the rule of law and democracy. Pressures for a "streamlining" of the internal legal order also emerge from the increased globalization of the markets. During 2002, the Institute has undertaken a comparative study on the antiterrorism laws which have recently been adopted by a number of states. In January 2003, a symposium will take place at the institute assessing the main thrust of this legislation in the light of the requirements of international human rights law (see X. G).

At the international and regional level, the states have increasingly moved beyond mere cooperation in matters of security, human rights protection, trade and the environment and established multilateral mechanisms which by their normative dimensions as well as their institutional ramifications raise the question of the extent one may speak of the "constitutionalization" of international law. This process has been particularly strong in the European context with the foundation and the dynamic institutional development of the European Communities as well as with the establishment of a highly effective system for human rights protection under the auspices of the European Council which now covers the whole of Europe. With the end of the cold war, the UN system has been freed of the political constraints which had previously prevented it from effectively discharging its functions with regard to the maintenance and restoration of international peace under the UN charter. At the same time, the cooperation between states has continuously increased. New codifications in the fields of international trade and environmental law reflect the necessity felt by the members of the international community for an ever closer cooperation in the search for global solutions to global problems. The research activities of the Institute have repeatedly adressed the implications of the duty to cooperate, which has at least partly been recognized in international legal norms, for the functioning of international institutions as well as for the sovereignty of states.

At the same time, new mechanisms have been created in public international law for the effective implementation of treaty norms and recognized principles of customary law. The establishment of international criminal tribunals for Ruanda and the former Yugoslavia by the UN, the creation of a Permanent International Criminal Court and the strengthening of the dispute settlement mechanisms in international environmental and trade law by the creation of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and the WTO dispute settlement system testify to this recent trend in international law. Such areas have been the subject of several recent publications by the Institute, for example on international and European protection of human rights (see II. C. 1 and 2), UN law (see II. D. 1 and 2) and international environmental and trade law (see II. F. and IX. C.). In the coming years, the Institute will, under the new director Prof. von Bogdandy, focus even more closely on the development of international trade law. Finally, the Institute has extended in the past year its research activities on the general foundations of public international law (see II. A.).