The law library houses the publications of two major international organizations, the Council of Europe and the Organization of American States, that deal with human rights. The following is a description of these organizations and the publications (both primary and secondary) that report (in full, in part, or in summary) their cases/decisions.
The Council of Europe was founded in 1949 as an organization to promote unity and cooperation among the European nations. As its first major human rights activity, it established the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (also known as the European Convention on Human Rights), which was signed by the member nations in 1950 and entered into force in 1953. The Convention created two bodies: the European Commission of Human Rights (1953), and the European Court of Human Rights (began in 1959). Both bodies adjudicated human rights questions, but they are subsidiary to the national courts of the Council's member nations. The Commission's adjudicatory role was phased out in 1999 pursuant to Protocol No. 11 to the Convention.
The European Commission of Human Rights reviewed petitions or applications from individuals or member nations concerning human rights violations of the Convention. It decided on the admissibility of applications and acted as an intermediary in order to reach a friendly settlement. If this was not accomplished, the Commission drafted a report that was sent to the European Court of Human Rights to decide whether a violation had taken place.
The Collection of Decisions = Recueil de Décisions, 1960-1974 contains the great majority of the published decisions of the Commission on the admissibility of applications, generally in full text and in the original language of their text. Published summaries of the decisions for volumes 1-30 are available in single volumes in English (1981) and in French (1973); the entries are arranged by the order of Convention article, paragraph, and subparagraph. Decisions and Reports = Décisions et Rapports, 1975- is published quarterly, continues the above, and contains complete texts of, or extracts from, the most significant decisions on the admissibility of applications, and also contains the Commission's reports when they have been made public. The entries are arranged by numerical designation of decision or report. There are published "Summaries and Indexes = Sommaires et Index" for volumes 1-20 (covering 1975-1980) and volumes 21-40 (covering 1981-1985); part I, contains summaries arranged by Convention article; part II, contains indexes by numerical order of application, alphabetical order of applicant, convention article, and subject.
The European Court of Human Rights is not a court of appeal from the Commission; it hears disputes which the Commission could not settle. The Court publishes its cases/decisions in a two-part series called Publications of the European Court of Human Rights = Publications de la Cour Européenne des Droits de l'Homme. The judgments and decisions appear in Series A, Judgments and Decisions = Serie A, Arrets et Décisions, 1960- . The principal documents and pleadings corresponding to the cases in the above appear in Series B, Pleadings, Oral Arguments, and Documents = Serie B, Mémoires, Plaidoiries, et Documents, 1960- . The European Court of Human Rights HUDOC database includes the court's judgments, decisions, resolutions, and reports. On LexisNexis, the European Court of Human Rights cases are found in the intl library, hright file.
There are several secondary sources that report (in full, in part, or in summary) the cases/decisions of both the Commission and the Court. The most important decisions are republished in the Yearbook of the European Convention on Human Rights: the European Commission and European Court of Human Rights = Annuaire de la Convention Européenne des Droits de l'Homme: Commission et Cour Européennes des Droits de l'Homme, 1955- . There is an alphabetical index at the end of each volume. The Digest of Case-law Relating to the European Convention on Human Rights (1955-1967) = Répertoire de la Jurisprudence Relative à la Convention Européenne des Droits de l'Homme (1955-1967), published in 1970, contains summaries or extracts from the more important decisions published in the Yearbook for those years and serves basically as a cumulative index, with an accompanying fold-out table of cases.
The European Human Rights Reports, 1979- , published quarterly, reproduces (usually in full text) the cases/decisions of the Commission and the Court, but appears to put emphasis on the Court. Volumes 1 and 2, published in 1979 and 1980, covers the entire case law of the European Court of Human Rights from its inception. The subsequent volumes report the annual activity of the Commission and the Court. Each annual volume contains indexes by subject matter and case title, including a cumulative chronological table and index of all European Court of Human Rights cases that have been published in the periodical so far. Vincent Berger's Case Law of the European Court of Human Rights provides a full summary of the facts and law in every Court decision through 1987. The bibliography accompanying each decision indicates changes in the national laws and procedures which have arisen from the decision. Indexes by case name, subject, and articles of the Convention enhance the compendium.
The International Law Reports, 1932- , published currently in two to four bound volumes per year, reproduces cases/decisions of both the Commission and the Court, as well as of other international tribunals and national courts bearing on public international law, such as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the International Court of Justice of the United Nations. The series began with the title Annual Digest of Public International Law Cases, changing to its present name in 1956. Each volume contains a table and digest of case reports and a subject index. There are two separately-published "Consolidated Tables and Index" for Volumes 1-35 (covering 1919- 1967) and for Volumes 36-45 (covering 1968-1972). There is a "Consolidated Table of Cases Reported for Volumes 46-60" (covering 1973-1981) at the end of Volume 60.
The Human Rights Law Journal, 1980- , published four times a year, also reproduces decisions/cases of international law courts, including the European Commission and Court and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
The Organization of American States was founded in 1948, evolving from an earlier organization established in 1890 as the International Union of American Republics. Members include countries in Central and South America, the Caribbean, and United States (Cuba is excluded). The main aims are peace, security, and the promotion, through cooperative action, of economic, social and cultural development. In 1969, the member states signed the American Convention on Human Rights, which entered into force in 1978. This Convention set up a judicial institution called the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to apply and interpret the Convention. The decisions of the Court are published in a three-part series: Series A, Judgements and Opinions = Serie A, Fallos y Opiniones, 1982- . Series B, Pleadings, Oral Arguments, and Documents = Serie B, Memorias, Argumentos Orales y Documentos, 1983- . Series C, Decisions and Judgments = Serie C, Resoluciones y Sentencias, 1987- . Many of the Court’s decisions can be found on their web site under the jurisprudence tab.
As mentioned above, the International Law Reports and the Human Rights Law Journal reproduce cases originating in the Inter-American Court.