international law and organizations. international law

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  • International Law and Organizations

  • International Law

  • Differences between Domestic and International LawInternational law the body of rules that bind states and other actors in world politics in their relations with one another.

  • Unlike domestic law, international law reflects the lack of an international sovereignInternational law can be enforced only through:Reciprocity,Sanctions, orReprisals

  • There is no international legislature to set laws for all nations;International law is ultimately based on explicit or implicit consent to its provisions.

  • Sources of International LawCustomary PracticesRepresents established and consistent practices of states in international relationsDiplomatic immunity,Prohibition of slavery andGenocide.

  • When states' adherence to rules becomes widespread and commonplace, they may be regarded as binding on all states,Even those that do not explicitly consent

  • TreatiesTreaties are "contracts" between states or formal agreements to accept a set of obligations.

  • Consent is explicit, unlike with customary practiceBut if a treaty's provisions are widely observed by most states,It can be argued that those provisions have become customary law.

  • International law declares that agreements must be:Kept andPerformed in good faith.

  • A state's internal laws cannot exempt it from compliance with international law;Has caused many problems especially in the areas of trade and environment.

  • Forums for negotiation of treaties exist.International organizations such as the UNEx. Convention on chemical weapons,Multilateral forumsEx. NAFTA Bilateral NegotiationsEx. START

  • Violation and ComplianceLike domestic law, international law is frequently violated,But many provisions and principles are adhered to every dayEx. Freedom of the seas.

  • Most governments attempt to justify their actions in terms of international law, even when their legality is questionable.Because there is no international sovereign, the legality of an action often depends on one's point of view.Ex. American invasion of any country

  • Why then do states obey international law?International law provides a framework for the orderly conduct of international affairs.States may obey the law out of fear of sanction or reprisal.International law may be enforced by reciprocity.

  • States that routinely flout international law may gain a reputation as untrustworthy and may become "pariah or rogue states,Ostracized from the international communityEx. North Korea and its nuclear program.

  • Areas of International Law

  • The Principle of SovereigntyFormally established in the Peace of Westphalia,This principle holds that individual states have ultimate legal authority within their own borders.

  • States have freedom to govern their own:Nationals Personal sovereigntyTerritory Territorial sovereigntyUse of the public domain High seas, outer space,Legal agreements with other states, andFight wars in self-defense.

  • Sovereignty also implies that interference with domestic affairs is outside the scope of international law;Causes many problems in the area of human rights.

  • Problems with SovereigntyActions taken on another state's territory in response to threats to sovereignty can be seen by others as armed aggressionAgain, American intervention in any country.

  • Some countries declare that sovereignty allows them to violate international commitments.Ex. North Korea's refusal to allow IAEA inspection of its nuclear facilities.

  • According to the principle of personal sovereignty:Individuals cannot be subjected to international lawNor claim any rights under it;

  • May be interpreted to allow governments to treat their citizens brutally,Making it difficult to "bring to justice" leaders who perpetrate violations of human rights.

  • Human Rights under International Law The idea that humans have inalienable rights is ancient,But guarantees of human rights under international law is a relatively new concept.

  • Conceptions of human rights are grounded in the doctrine of natural lawNatural Law certain human rights derive from a "higher law" rather than from actions of rulers or governments.

  • In the 19th century, international law developed a doctrine of humanitarian intervention to stop atrocities.In the late 19th & early 20th centuries, international conventions on human rights were signedEx. Geneva Conventions on laws of war.

  • Efforts to develop a universal law on human rights were hindered by the doctrine of positive law,Claimed that there can be no law in the absence of sovereignty andThat international law did not apply to sovereign states.

  • This doctrine was put into practice in Nazi Germany's Nuremberg Laws,Legalized persecution of Jews.

  • After WWII, with the Holocaust in recent memory, the UN codified principles of human rights into international lawUniversal Declaration of Human Rights.

  • The rights of women have acquired a special place in international human rights law. Frequently violated, women's rights that have become international norms & include:Gender equityEqual access to education, economic opportunities, and health care;Prevention of violence against women.

  • The abolishment of abuses of women's human rights is made difficult due to:Cultural ignorance,Indifference to women's concerns, andStrong political resistance in many countries.

  • In 1998, delegations from 160 states adopted a statute creating the International Court of Justice (ICC);It has the power to try individuals accused of crimes against humanity, such as:War crimes and genocide.

  • Some major states, including the U.S. and Russia, have refused to ratify the statute;U.S. fears that the ICC will be used as a means to prosecute U.S. soldiers, the President, and other high ranking officials by countries who oppose U.S. policies; The failure of the five permanent members of the Security Council to ratify the statute questions how effective the Court will and can be.

  • Can Human Rights Decrees Be Enforced?When human rights have clashed with sovereignty, sovereignty has usually won out;Torture, political imprisonment are still widespread.

  • Warfare and AggressionThe conduct of war has been another major area of international law,As with human rights these attempts have been only partially successful.

  • Some international conventions cover the rights of:Belligerents countries fighting in war and Neutrals countries supporting neither side.Other conventions seek to limit the means of warfareHague Convention of 1899 andGeneva Protocol of 1925.

  • AntarcticaThe 1959 Antarctic treaty prohibited new territorial claims on that continent and declared that it shall only be used for peaceful purposes.In 1998, a protocol came into force that bans mining and oil exploration in Antarctica for a period of fifty years.

  • The Verdict on International LawThe existence of international law shows that the international system is not a completely anarchic environment,But attempts to enforce international law resemble frontier "vigilante justiceThe "sheriff" is weak, all the citizens are armed, and "posses" must be formed to bring criminals to justice.

  • International Organizations

  • International OrganizationsAre called upon to deal with political, social, and economic issues that states are unwilling or incapable of managing by themselves.

  • Intergovernmental Organizations(IGOs) are associations of sovereign states with a common purpose, established through formal agreement.

  • Some IGOs have a global membershipEx. UNWhile others are regionalEx. ASEAN.

  • Likewise, some IGOs are general-purpose forumsWhile others concentrate on specific issuesEx. NATO.

  • Nongovernmental Organizations(NGOs) unite groups and individuals, usually for action on specific issuesEx. Greenpeace or Amnesty International;They lie outside the traditional structure of international politics,But many have a significant impact on world affairs.

  • The Genealogy of the United Nations

  • The Concert of EuropeThe Concert of Europe was established after the Napoleonic WarsTo resolve European conflicts andProvide collective security.

  • The Concert did not always operate in an impartial manner,But reflected political relationships among the Great Powers.

  • The elitism of the Concert proved its undoing;It was incapable of responding to the rise of nationalism among many subject peoples in Europe.

  • The League of NationsThe League of Nations was created by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919It lasted formally until 1946.

  • Arguably, the League was stillborn,The most potentially powerful state in the international system refused to join.The League proved ineffective, however, for a number of reasons.

  • The League's members continued to practice balance-of-power realpolitik.The U.S. never joined the League,Key states left after being censuredEx. Japan, Italy, & Germany,The USSR was admitted only in 1934 andExpelled in 1939.

  • The League's decision-making rules, hampered its ability to take action.Required unanimity among all members of its Security CouncilAllowed vetoes by other members. Enforcement of League-imposed sanctions was almost impossible.

  • Overall, the League was an overreaction to the Great Power politics of the Concert;It demonstrated that moral force alone could not stop aggression,Without the backing of the Great Powers


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