law forum

International law


Citizens must abide by federal and state laws. But these are not the only rules that govern behavior. International laws dictate how countries and people should act. And the bodies that decide on these laws employ legal translation services to make sure everyone understands how these universal rules affect them.


World Trade Organization 

The World Trade Organization (WTO) represents 153 countries. Since 1995, its aim has been to reduce the barriers to international trade.


The 153 countries involved with the WTO cover around 97% of the global population. WTO decisions therefore affect the majority of people.


The main role of the WTO is creating and maintaining trading laws between countries. When governments approve the laws, they confirm them through their own legislative assemblies. If disputes arise, the WTO enforces the terms of the law.


International Monetary Fund 

Since 1945, the International Monetary Fund

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(IMF) has overseen the financial system of the world. 187 countries are members.


The IMF actively participates in financial policies across the globe. It comments on and influences issues such as a country's balance of payments and international exchange rates.


The IMF's rules aim to improve financial cooperation between countries; create economic stability; boost international trade; encourage high employment rates; cut poverty; and promote financial growth.


The IMF has its base in Washington, D.C. It uses extensive legal translation because it has three official languages: Spanish, French and English.


Geneva Convention 

The original Geneva Conventions date back to 1864. Together, they are four treaties and three protocols. These set out the international law that governs the treatment of victims during a time of war.


The modern Geneva Convention is from 1949. It updated the existing treaties and protocols. In particular, it laid down the international rules for the treatment of prisoners of war, the wounded, and civilians.


194 countries have signed up to the Geneva Convention.An important point about the Geneva Convention, however, is that it refers to people in war. It does not cover warfare and weapons. The Hague Conventions and the Geneva Protocol deal with warfare. They also handle issues such as the use of poison gas and bacteria.


United Nations 

The purpose of the United Nations (U.N.) is to prevent war. It has a presence in 193 countries, and seeks to make and promote international law. It also supports human rights and economic progress.


Because of its wide remit, the U.N. has a number of agencies. Among these are the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Food Program (WFP).


The UN began in 1945. It has its headquarters in New York on international territory.





John Wells