One of the primary responsibilities on the United Nations is to develop international Law. The Preamble of the chapter of the United Nations sets the goal ‘’to set conditions under which respect and justice for the obligation that arise from treaties among other international law sources can be maintained.
International law refers to a set of rules that are generally accepted and regarded as binding in relations between nations and between states. It provides a legal definition to the state responsibilities in the way they conduct with each other and how they treat individuals who reside within their boundaries. International law provides guidance for the practice of organized and stable international relations. This aspect is different from state-based legal systems because the application of the later is to countries and not its private citizens.
The domain of this subject includes a broad range of issues that have international concern like the conduct of war, use of force, the treatment of refugees, prisoners, disarmament, problems related to nationality, migration, international crimes and human rights just to name a few. The law is also responsible for the regulation of the global commons such as world trade, global communications, outer space, international water, sustainable development, and the environment.
International law has developed from the effort to handle conflicts among states because rules provide help and order to cub destructive conflict. There are several ways of developing international law. First, law usually emanate from international treaties and agreements among states.
The most significant source of international law are treaties and they are also the origin of IGOs, which are in turn the origin of law. Secondly, customary practices that have been evolving over time often get codification from law. The third thing is that the general principles in law that are common among several states can form part of the body of international law. Lastly, the foundation of law is the society of international legal academic experts. Political leaders often accept their expertise particularly on issues that are more technical.
A huge section of international law deals with content-based governance. The meaning is that a state member of the international community has no obligation to abide to this kind of international law unless the state has expressly consented to a given course of conduct. Any state that wishes to become a party to a treaty must express its willingness to undertake the legal obligations and rights that are found in the treaty through a concrete act. The state has to “consent to be bound” by the given treaty. The accomplishment of this is normally through ratification of the treaty and signature or by accession if it is already in force.
The terminology “International Law” can be used to refer to 3 distinct legal disciplines which comprise of:
The main deliberate body of the United nations is the national assembly. It adopts several multilateral treaties and then opened for ratification and signature by the United Nations member states. It has adopted several treaties through its history and this includes but is not limited to:
The UN holds a Treaty occasion that highlights a group of treaties every year as a way of encouraging member states to ratify, sign or support the given treaties. Different treaty body regimes may be created by different treaties to encourage all parties to comply by the stated obligations and undertake the actions that should be undertaken for the purposes of compliance.
International law has also had its fair share of significant criticisms from the west. Most of the international law is currently based on Western notions. This can be seen in the fact that Western Countries comply so much with international laws that touch on human rights. Other scholars argue that the widely spread international law is enough evidence that that principles that form it are not strictly western.
There is no clear guideline whether most of the developing countries have the freedom to agree to these rules. Western nations are willing to provide incentives for the nations that are less powerful to agree to their wishes. Either way, it implies that international law has some driving force, even though it may not be as strong as the domestic legal systems.
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