Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Journal Editor

First Page



This symposium commemorates the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. The historic document was concluded in Helsinki on August 1, 1975, by the highest representatives of thirty-two European countries, the Soviet Union, Canada, and the United States. Our goal is to provide a forum for evaluation of the Helsinki process prior to the Madrid review meeting in October. To permit a comprehensive treatment of this important topic, this symposium combines the spring and summer issues(Nos. 2 & 3) of volume 13.The Final Act contains a number of provisions designed to establish or strengthen ties among the participating states. Because of the comprehensive nature of the document, it was deemed necessary to limit the scope of this symposium. Accordingly, we have chosen to focus on the humanitarian provisions for several rea-sons. First, they raise complicated issues of sovereignty, domestic compliance, and international law. Second, they are the most controversial provisions of the Act, as evidenced by the Belgrade Follow-up meeting in 1977-78. Finally, many signatories contend that the most serious problems of implementation exist in this area.