Institut de Droit International Wins the Nobel Peace Prize

The Institut de droit international ("Institute of International Law") is an organization devoted to the study and development of international law, receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1904, whose membership comprises the world's leading public international lawyers.

It is a private body, made up of associates, members, and honorary members. The members, invited by the organization, are persons who have demonstrated notable scholarly work in the area of international law, and is restricted to those who are considered relatively free of political pressure. The organisation attempts to have members broadly distributed around the world.

The organisation holds biannual congresses for the study of international law as it currently exists, and passes resolutions proposing modifications to international law. It does not comment on specific disputes. The next session will be held in Naples in September 2009.

Whilst its recommendations cover international law in its many forms, some of its resolutions particularly pertain to human rights law and peaceful dispute resolution. It is for this reason the organization received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1904.

As of 2005, the organization remains active, with a congress held in Krakow in August. The location of the institute's headquarters rotates according to the origin of the Secretary General. Since the election of Professor Joe Verhoeven as Secretary General in September 2003, the institute is headquartered in Grez-Doiceau, Belgium. Its current members include, amongst other prominent lawyers and legal academics,[1] judges of the International Criminal Court. Recent resolutions from the organization include, for example, a recommendation on immunity from prosecution for Heads of State, and the responsibility of national governments for environmental damage.

In principle, the Institute meets every two years. Between Sessions, Scientific Commissions study themes chosen by the plenary Assembly. The latter receives the work of the Commissions, examines them attentively and if appropriate adopts Resolutions of a normative character.

These Resolutions are then brought to the attention of governmental authorities, international organizations as well as the scientific community. In this way, the Institute seeks to highlight the characteristics of the lex lata in order to promote its respect. Sometimes it make determinations de lege ferenda in order to contribute to the development of international law.