The Institute of International Law is composed of three categories of Members: Honorary Members, Members, and Associates. There can be no more than a total of 132 Members and Associates under the age of 80.

Honorary Members

The status of Honorary Member may be conferred on:

  • Members and Associates;
  • Any person who has distinguished himself in the field of international law.

The presentation of candidatures for election as Honorary Member follows the same conditions as for the election of Associates (Art. 9 Rules).

Honorary members enjoy the same rights and prerogatives as Members and are exempted from Article 21 of the Statutes relating to absence.


If an Associate has effectively participated in three sessions, he or she becomes a Member. Effective participation means participation in at least half of each of the three sessions in question and contributing substantially to the work of the Institute in Plenary or in Commissions (Art. 4 Statutes).


Associates are selected by the Institute from among those nations who have given service to international law either in the field of theory or in that of practice. (Art. 5 Statutes).

Candidates for election as Associates are presented to the Institute in accordance with the conditions as stated in Articles 9 and 10 of the Rules:

  • By the national groups for countries with at least three Members or Associates;
  • By the Bureau for countries with a total of fewer than three Members and Associates combined and for countries with neither Members nor Associates;
  • By three Members or Associates who are nationals from at least three countries without a national group in the same region and who have actually participated in at least two sessions;
  • By ten Members or Associates who have actually participated in at least two sessions.

For more information on the voting procedure, which is by secret ballot, please see Article 18 of the Rules.

Download Guidelines for the presentation of candidatures (Word version)

Emeritus Member

A Member who resigns may be named by the Bureau as an ‘Emeritus Member of the Institute of International Law’ if he or she has participated effectively in the work of the Institute during at least five sessions (Art. 22 Statutes).


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