It is a private body, made up of "associates", "members", and "honorary members". The members, invited by the organization, are persons who have demonstrated notable scholarly work in the area of international law, and is restricted to those who are considered relatively free of political pressure. The organisation attempts to have members broadly distributed around the world.
The organisation holds biannual congresses for the study of international law as it currently exists, and passes resolutions proposing modifications to international law. It does not comment on specific disputes.
Whilst its recommendations cover international law in its many forms, some of its resolutions particularly pertain to human rights law and peaceful dispute resolution. It is for this reason the organization received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1904.
As of 2003, the organization remains active, with a congress held in Bruges in August-September. It is currently headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. Its current members include, amongst other prominent lawyers and legal academics, a judge of the International Criminal Court. Recent resolutions from the organization include, for example, a recommendation on immunity from prosecution for Heads of State, and the responsibility of national governments for environmental damage.