When you study international law, you will learn about its origins and the principles underlying it. In this article, we will discuss the sources of international law, its development after World War II, and the enforcement of international law. To better understand international law, let’s take a look at some of the most notable figures in the field. And don’t forget to check out our list of the most influential individuals. If you want to learn more about international law, read on!
Principles of international law
The principle of universality of the rule of law carries the burden of proof with a high degree of certainty. However, the scope of this principle is limited, and it is also subject to interpretation and conflict. This is not to say that it is the only source of law, as many scholars maintain that the principles of international law can also be derived from other sources. In this article, we consider some of the most common sources of international law.
One of the earliest sources of international law is the Peace of Westphalia. The Treaty of Westphalia defined the existence of sovereign states as independent, sovereign entities. These states have equal sovereign power, and their laws are defined by their sovereignty and noninterference in the internal affairs of other sovereign states. From that point onward, the concept of a nation-state evolved quickly, as more complex relations were established.
General principles of law are accepted by all civilised nations as both sources of law and inspiration. For example, one of the main principles of international law is state responsibility. States that violate their international obligations and duties must cease their illegal acts and make reparations to the parties they have injured. International customary law recognizes this principle, and all states must abide by it. In addition, these principles also govern the behaviour of other nations. If a state commits a crime, the rest of the world will impose a similar standard of justice.
Another important distinction between general principles of law and principles of international law is the distinction between them. While the distinction between these two categories of norms is useful in the constitutional processes, it is arguably irrelevant whether these are derived from principles or general principles of law. As long as we can distinguish the two, international law will be stronger. So, what is the role of general principles of law? You may be surprised to learn that they are both categories of norms.
Sources of international law
There are three basic sources of international law. One is international custom, another is international conventions, and a third is general principles of law. All rules of international law have at least one of these three sources of law in their genesis. Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice specifies the ICJ’s sources of law. ICJ decisions act as advisory opinions in the development of international law. While each of these sources has a different history, they do share some similarities.
Formal sources of international law come from official bodies, such as the United Nations and the International Court. Other sources of international law are custom, judicial decisions, and the principles of law of a state. A formal source of international law is article 38(1)(a-c) of the ICJ statute, which is generally recognized as authoritative and a handy catalogue of international legal sources. To qualify as a formal source of international law, a source must have widespread and consistent state practice, as well as opinio juris, or the legal obligation to believe in its existence.
While formal sources tend to be the most recent documents, they are not the only sources of international law. They have a long history. Most of these documents have been written by international law experts and have a significant impact on the development of international law. The Island of Palmas case, for example, highlights the impact of arbitral awards. In addition to arbitral awards, unanimous decisions play a critical role in the progress of international law as they provide a unified view of an issue.
Article 38(1)(d) states that the teachings and practices of highly-qualified publicists may be a material source of international law. Articles of international law are not legally binding, but they can be used as guides when interpreting cases. Further, they can be used to establish the principles of international law. However, it should be noted that the articles of international law do not include the principles of morality, justice, or equity.
Development of international law after World War II
In 1946, President Harry Truman appointed Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson to represent the United States at the June-July 1945 London Conference, which created the machinery for an International Military Tribunal to try major Nazi war criminals. Judges on this tribunal were conservative and cautious about international law overriding national sovereignty. They assumed the validity of war nexus from the London Charter, a law that was intentionally omitted. Lauterpacht and his family had immigrated to England in the 1920s.
Although the League of Nations failed to protect peace and prevent wars, it had a strong effect on the development of international law. It established sanctions against member states for violations of the rules of war. It also created the Permanent Court of International Justice (ICJ), which arbitrates disputes between states. This international arbitration system became common, and many nations signed treaties to use it. After World War II, international law has advanced dramatically.
After World War II, the family of nations states, which included Western Europe, the New World, and Asia, contributed to the development of international law. This group helped secure the freedom of the seas, establishing international rivers. Although the Napoleonic period saw some lapses in international law, the Congress of Vienna reinstated some of its provisions and added more, such as the classification of diplomatic agents. ASIL awarded certificates of merit to scholars who wrote on international law.
Despite the failure of the League of Nations to arbitrate wars, the United Nations Charter was established to protect future generations from war. In August 1941, the Allies proposed a new international body. The Atlantic Charter, signed by Roosevelt and Churchill, proposed principles for international collaboration in sustaining peace. The Charter became effective three months after Germany surrendered. These landmark treaties helped shape the future of international law.
After World War II, international law shifted focus from protecting national sovereignty and borders to promoting human rights. While the European Court of Human Rights was established in Strasbourg, France, the United States did not ratify the treaty, and the European Union is making moves towards a regional legal order. The European Union also created a court of first instance in 1989, which is the court of original jurisdiction in certain economic matters. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights was elected in 1992. The High Commissioner for Human Rights has major responsibilities for human rights in the United Nations.
Enforcement of international law
Enforcement of international law has undergone two major changes over the past two centuries. First, the ICC Statute contains article 13(b) regarding the prosecution of war crimes. Second, the Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits the hostile use of chemical weapons. Finally, Article 89 of the Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions addresses the effectiveness of compliance control measures. Scholars disagree on whether such measures have any impact on the violation of international law.
In general, violations of international law have legal consequences on states, as well as individuals. These consequences include sanctions, peace-keeping operations, and formal censures. Though formal censures have minimal negative consequences, they are symbolic of the potential reputational cost of a state’s violations. Third-party assistance to a state in violating international law is also a violation of international law. The Geneva Conventions, for example, require all member states to abide by the laws of war.
Since international law lacks a coercive or compulsory judicial system, it is important to have some way to bring breaches to the attention of the international community and resolve them. In many cases, these mechanisms include judicial tribunals, as well as quasi-judicial bodies in certain fields. The United Nations created mechanisms for the world community to enforce international law through the UN Security Council. This process, referred to as “co-equal and mutually-beneficial,” aims to protect international law by ensuring that it is adhered to.
Although states and individuals subscribe to this view, the person responsible for violating international law is considered a hostis humani generis (a common enemy of mankind). Thus, the individual is subject to a fair trial before any fundamentally just tribunal. Therefore, international law is important to the modern system of justice. However, there are a few caveats and exceptions. In short, international law helps to legitimize governmental decisions.
First, international law lays out obligations when serious breaches occur. The breach must violate a peremptory norm of general international law, which is generally accepted by the international community. The violation of a peremptory norm requires an individual or state to cooperate to prevent future violations. Second, the international community is deprived of a common objective if the state infringes upon its sovereign power. Therefore, international law is vital to the survival of the world system.