International Law

International law governs the relationships among nations and international organizations and includes humanitarian, criminal, military, maritime, trade, and environmental laws and treaties such as the Geneva Conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. RAND research has helped to clarify issues of global governance with regard to the environment, counterterrorism and security, piracy, human and drug trafficking, and finance.

  • Free Syrian Army fighters aim their weapons during clashes with forces loyal to Assad

    Commentary

    Punishing the Wicked in Syria

    The international community has once again defined a global standard of “the wicked” against whom sovereign states have a duty to fight, writes Paul D. Miller. Instead of pirates and cannibals, it is war criminals and genocidaires. This appears to be the implicit argument for military action against Syria.

    Sep 10, 2013

  • Navy patrolling the Western Pacific

    Commentary

    How to Avert a Sea Catastrophe with China

    The United States should propose and pursue an East Asian maritime partnership, inviting to join all states that share its interest in assured access and passage, writes David Gompert.

    May 9, 2013

  • A Japanese Coast Guard patrol vessel passes by Uotsuri, the largest island in the Senkaku/Diaoyu chain

    Commentary

    America's Delicate Dance in the Pacific

    Even if Japan and China ease the tensions in their dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyus islands, the United States should gird itself for further uncomfortable contingencies in the coming years, writes David Shlapak.

    Mar 28, 2013

  • world map with China colored red like its flag

    Commentary

    Will China's Nationalism Come Back to Bite Leaders?

    It is possible that at some point, anti-Japan protests could slip beyond the regime's control, and Party leaders worry that mishandling such tensions could affect the regime's legitimacy—and ultimately erode its grip on power, writes Scott Harold.

    Sep 5, 2012

  • Free Pussy Riot demonstration in Berlin

    Commentary

    What Pussy Riot Teaches Us

    The global attention drawn by Pussy Riot shows what is possible in an interconnected world, writes Olga Oliker. Opposition movements in Russia and elsewhere may take note and think about how to better harness such possibilities in the future.

    Aug 20, 2012

  • Puzzle map of Southeast Asia

    Report

    Security Issues Facing the Tri-Border Area Between the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia

    The area between the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia is a key hub of terrorist and related criminal activity in Southeast Asia. The Coast Watch System was designed to improve maritime domain awareness in the region but has some issues to overcome.

    May 17, 2012

  • Report

    The United States, Japan, and Free Trade: Moving in the Same Direction?

    Assesses the factors contributing to the decisions by the United States and Japan to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the meaning of those decisions for bilateral cooperation on trade expansion.

    Apr 23, 2012

  • Report

    Innovations in the Provision of Legal Services in the United States: An Overview for Policymakers

    Discusses innovation's role in the legal services industry, factors affecting innovation's production, and the research and data infrastructure needed by policymakers to understand whether restrictions on the practice of the law should be altered.

    Oct 26, 2011

  • Testimony

    Iran's Human Rights Abuses

    Testimony presented before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on The Middle East and South Asia, provides insight into the Islamic Republic of Iran's human rights abuses, the Iranian regime's behavior in light of the Arab Spring, and the current state and future prospects of the opposition Green Movement.

    Sep 22, 2011

  • News Release

    U.S. Prisoner of War, Detainee Operations Need More Advance Planning

    Prisoner-of-war and detainee operations are a crucial component in the successful prosecution of a conflict -- particularly in counterinsurgency operations -- and should be upgraded to receive more attention and better advance preparation.

    Jun 9, 2011

  • Report

    U.S. Prisoner of War, Detainee Operations Need More Advance Planning

    Prisoner-of-war and detainee operations are a crucial component in the successful prosecution of a conflict — particularly in counterinsurgency operations — and should be upgraded to receive more attention and better advance preparation.

    Jun 9, 2011

  • Commentary

    Odd Man Out at Sea

    The United States has yet to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. As a result, the U.S., the world's leading maritime power, is at a military and economic disadvantage, write Thad W. Allen, Richard L. Armitage, and John J. Hamre.

    Apr 25, 2011

  • Commentary

    Industry Insights: What's So Hard About Stopping Piracy?

    Containing persistent maritime disorder might be more fruitful and could lay the foundations for a successful transition to better use of the sea once the societal factors—an even longer term problem—have been resolved, writes Laurence Smallman.

    Apr 11, 2011

  • Commentary

    Kowtowing to Pirates' Ransoms Fuels Maritime Piracy

    Instead of fanning piracy, international businesses need to heed policy. Ransoms in the short term can only lead to more problems in the long term, writes Laurence Smallman.

    Apr 11, 2011

  • Commentary

    The Allies in Libya: A New Paradigm for Intervention?

    What has been happening in North Africa this year, in what seems to be the leading edge of a great wind of change sweeping the Arab world, will require the Europeans (along with the U.S. and others) to be deeply and durably engaged there — economically, politically and in humanitarian terms, writes Robert E. Hunter.

    Apr 10, 2011

  • Report

    Hired Guns: Views About Armed Contractors in Operation Iraqi Freedom

    While most U.S. government officials working in Iraq believe the use of armed private security contractors has been a useful strategy, many worry that the contractors have not always had a positive effect on U.S. foreign policy objectives.

    Jun 1, 2010

  • Report

    Countering Piracy in the Modern Era: Notes from a RAND Workshop to Discuss the Best Approaches for Dealing with Piracy in the 21st Century

    The findings of a small group of experts from the U.S. government, allied partner nations, the maritime industry, and academic organizations convened to discuss piracy in the modern era.

    Aug 20, 2009

  • Commentary

    European Union at Cross Purposes in Kosovo

    Of all the international actors involved in Kosovo right now, the European Union has by far the most at stake. It is also in the strongest position to remedy the situation. Sadly, it is too divided over Kosovo's declaration of independence over a year ago to take effective action, writes Christopher Chivvis.

    Apr 27, 2009

  • Commentary

    Piracy Still Threatens the Freedom of the Seas

    As recent events off the Horn of Africa have demonstrated, armed violence at sea is emerging as a growing threat. Piracy threatens the freedom of the seas, increases the cost of international business, endangers political security through corruption, and could trigger a major environmental disaster, write Peter Chalk and Laurence Smallman.

    Apr 3, 2009

  • Commentary

    China's Responsibility to Protect: The Nation Can Help Citizens in Myanmar, Sudan

    Of all countries remiss in their responsibility to protect human rights, China bears special scrutiny because of its influence with the Myanmar and Sudanese regimes, writes David C. Gompert.

    Jun 17, 2008