The Centennial of the First International Peace Conference
The celebration of the Centennial of the First International Peace Conference took longer than the original conference itself. For almost two years experts from all over the world exchanged views on the progress, failures, lacunae, and prospects of international law. They focussed their attention on the three topics of the 1899 Hague Conference: disarmament, humanitarian law and laws of war, and peaceful settlement of disputes. Starting with preliminary reports by world-renowned experts in their respective fields of competence (Hans Blix on disarmament, Christopher Greenwood on humanitarian law and laws of war, and Francisco Orrego Vicuña and Christopher Pinto on peaceful settlement of disputes), discussions took place at regional legal advisers meetings, universities, NGO conferences, expert seminars, and over the internet. These culminated in 1999 in two major expert conferences in The Hague (The Netherlands), and St. Petersburg (Russia). The results were reported to the United Nations General Assembly at the closing of the Decade of International Law, later that year.
The present volume, compiled by the Centennial organizers and edited by Frits Kalshoven (emeritus professor of international law at the University of Leiden and chairman of the International Fact-Finding Commission established under Article 90 of the 1977 Protocol I for the protection of victims of international armed conflicts), includes both the major documents produced in the course of the Centennial celebrations (printed) and the various discussion papers as they appeared on the internet (on complementary CD-ROM). In addition to the Centennial discussion documents, historical papers on the 1899 conference diplomacy have been provided by Governments representing the 1899 delegations (also on CD-ROM). Together, they provide invaluable information on the achievements of the last century as well as on the direction of international law at the threshold of the new millennium, for both practitioners and students.