Skip to main content

United Nations (UN)

International Law

Australia is committed to enhancing the adherence to international law to prevent conflict and restore peace and security.

Australia supports the International Criminal Court and its goal of ending impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes. We played a key role in the negotiation of the Rome Statute as Chair of the Like-Minded Group, working towards the establishment of an independent and robust Court with effective jurisdiction.

Australia has provided assistance to States to help them ratify and implement the Rome Statute and has contributed to the Court's Trust Fund for the Participation of Least Developed Countries. Australia was a leading advocate for the historic adoption of provisions on the crime of aggression at the 2010 ICC Review Conference and the Trust Fund for victims.

Australia is committed to the peaceful resolution of international disputes including through the work of the International Court of Justice, the UN’s principal judicial organ.

Australia is dedicated to alleviating human suffering and protecting civilians in times of armed conflict through the application of international humanitarian law. We have been a strong supporter of the Geneva Conventions since we first signed them in 1950 and have ratified all three Additional Protocols.

Australia has provided technical and financial assistance to help other States implement their obligations under international humanitarian law. Australia has supported post-conflict justice mechanisms, including in Cambodia, Timor-Leste, the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands and Bougainville, Papua New Guinea.

International Law of the Sea

As a major coastal state, Australia has contributed strongly to the development of the international law of the sea in a manner that promotes international peace and security and prosperity.

In particular, we played a constructive and influential role in negotiation of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and its 1994 Implementing Agreement.

More recently, Australia has played a leading role in the development of the Law of the Sea Convention's continental shelf regime, as one of the first states to submit data on our continental shelf beyond the exclusive economic zone. The exercise helped establish concepts and precedents that many states have followed. Australia has since used its expertise to assist over 20 countries, including small island developing States in the Pacific in the preparation of their submissions.


Australia takes the Security Council sanctions regimes seriously and faithfully implements them. Breaches of controls on trade in sanctioned goods and services, or dealings with sanctions-designated individuals and entities, are serious criminal offences under Australian law.

More information on Australia's implementation of Security Council financial sanctions.


Australia plays an active role in helping to build and reinforce the United Nations' capacity to confront terrorism in all its forms. International cooperation is crucial in addressing threats from terrorism. The Security Council has an important role to play in this. We have worked with countries in the Asia-Pacific region to assist them fulfil their obligations under UN Security Council resolutions 1373 and 1267.

More information on Australia's international counter-terrorism efforts.

Back to top