The Codification Division of the United Nation’s Office of Legal Affairs has developed what is now an extensive serises of video lectures covering a wide range of international law topics. The series is part of the UN Audivisual Library of International Law. . The video lectures are delivered by a very impressive (and impressively diverse) list of international lawyers. They include judges at international tribunals, leading academics and practitioners of international law (see faculty directory). The topics covered are also quite wide ranging. I was invited to record some lectures last year and two of those lectures have just been posted on the website of the audiovisual library. The two lectures of mine that are now up are on: “The Prohibition of the Use of Force in International Relations” and “Self Defence”. Lecturers are encougaged to keep their lectures to about 30-40 minutes and it was quite a challenge to deal with such complex material in this amount of time. The other thing that I found particularly difficult was giving a lecture to a camera, without a class of students or other audience. I have given media interviews to camera but they are relatively short. A whole lecture to camera was a new experience for me. I usually try to develop some sort of eye connection with a class and to take some cues from how they respond (eg further developing points as required or going back over issues that require repetition). Without an audience it was tough to know what pace to adopt.
The Audivisual Library promises to be a great tool for teaching and research in international law. The lecture series are just one part of the library. As the UN Website explains:
The Audiovisual Library consists of three pillars: (1) the Historic Archives containing documents and audiovisual materials relating to the negotiation and adoption of significant legal instruments under the auspices of the United Nations and related agencies since 1945; (2) the Lecture Series featuring a permanent collection of lectures on virtually every subject of international law given by leading international law scholars and practitioners from different countries and legal systems; and (3) theResearch Library providing an on-line international law library with links to treaties, jurisprudence, publications and documents, scholarly writings and research guides. The Audiovisual Library is available to all individuals and institutions around the world for free via the Internet.
I congratulate the Office of Legal Affairs, and in particular Virgnia Morris who leads this project, on this work and commend the audiovisual library to readers.