International legal systems. International law originated in the 16th

law is the set of rules generally regarded and accepted as binding in
relations between states .It based consent from the  governments and only applicable to
states,  this means that a state member
is not obliged to abide by this type of international law, unless it has
expressly consented to a particular course of conduct because of state
sovereignty. However, other legal norms such as customary
international law and peremptory norms are binding on states and non-states. An
aggression to   international peace and
security is conserved a threat to international law, therefore it requires the consent
and collective security of world states to stop the aggressor. The following
essay   examines and analyzes the
existence of International Law.



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International law can
be categorised into three, public international law which governs the relations
of states and international entities, private law which is about jurisdiction
as well as supranatural natural law that involves laws of the states and
supranational legal systems. International law originated in the 16th century,
and its founders are Alberico Gentile, Francisco de Vitoria and Grotius.
There are two legal theories that are used to define, predict, explain and give
background knowledge about international law; these are natural legal theory
and positive legal theory.





There are also
sanctions in international law. These are applicable to an aggressor in
relation with the nature of violation. According to UN Charter, Chapter VII  1945, any aggressor might face sanctions
such as economic and diplomatic sanctions such as interruptions with rail air postal
or sea for example South Africa and Rhodesia in 1969. Moreover if an aggressor
remains resistant, use of force is authorised for example resolution 678 passed
by the Security Council on Iraq in 1990.




To conceptualize the
existence of international law, it is crucial to clearly understand the sources
of international law. The generally accepted and formally recognised saurces of
international law are identified in the International Criminal Court of Justice,
Article 38 ICJ STATUTE, article 38: international conventions, international customs,
general principles of law as well as judicial decisions and scholarly works.


conventions/treaties are contractual wtitten or codified rules that are binding
on all states.  They are multilateral treaties
meaning that all states under the sun can ratify and sign these    treaties. The most important principle on conventions
in international law  is the act of good
Faith { pacta sunt  servanda} meaning
that states which sign a certain a treaty 
must keep the agreements of the  
treaty .In the contemporary 
world  most states have
singed   international treaties  and have been seen conforming with the  requirements of these  treaties for example  all member states to the United Nations
are  bound by the United Nations Charter .Treaties
can be broad and far reaching or 
specialized  agreements such
as  Fishery agreement  which are also easy to interpret .


Moreover international customs
are also categorised as a source of international Law. These establish uncodified
or unwritten rules that are binding on all states .They are general practise.
If states behave in a certain way for a long time, the behaviour becomes
generally accepted with the status law. Western international law though
though not Islamictend to be positivist in the regard  draws actual customs like practical realities
of such interest and the need for consent rather than abstract concept of
divine or natural law.





Also General principles
of law define international law. These are principles that are recognised by
civilised nations.  Actions like theft
and assault recognised in most national systems as crimes tend to have the same
meaning in international context. For instance invasion of Iraq of Kuwait was
illegal considering treaties signed by Iraq  namely United Nations Charter and Arab League
,beyond the treaty and custom  the
invasion violated international law because 
the general principle that no one state should  overrun its neighbour  or annex 
it by forceUnited Nations Charter, Chapter 1,Article 2  was violated. This general principle applies
to all sovereign states.


Judicial decisions and
scholar work are subsidiary to the other sauces of international Law .In
definition   they can be described as the
written arguments of judges and lawyers around the world on the issues in question.
Only the writings of the most prominent .respected and qualified legal figure
are considered and there are there only to resolve points that are not provided
for by the first three points.




 In the contemporary world there has an
eruption of international organisations that impinge on state sovereignty by
creating new structures for regulating relations .They limit the Principle of
non intervention and the core realist principles of sovereignty and anarchy. A
good example is the United Nations. It 
has become a global arena for all member states by setting principles on
for states to abide  by ,thereby clearly
defining  goals, direct and indirect
lobbying, giving expect advice  and providing
information .The Organisation widened its scope and formed the  International Criminal Court  also known as the world court   ,which is a principal Judicial organ of the
United Nations. It clearly adjudicates to disputes rising in the United Nations
Charter and most important the International law.


The International Court
of Justice in 1949 delivered an Advisory opinion14 in which it stated that the
United Nations was a subject of international law and could enforce its rights
by bringing international claims, in this case against Israel following the
assassination of Count Bernadotte, a United Nations official. Such a ruling can
be applied to embrace other international institutions, like the International
Labour Organisation and the Food and





Organisation, which each has a judicial character of their own. Thus, while
states remain the primary subjects of international law, they are now joined by
other non-state entities.  Many of these
were created for reasons of military security, for example NATO and the
opposing Warsaw Pact organisations, others as an expression of regional and
cultural identity such as the Organisation of African Unity (now the African
Union) and the Organisation of American States.  Such regional organisations have added to the
developing sophistication of international law by the insertion of
‘regional-international law sub-systems’ within the universal framework and the
consequent evolution of rules that bind only member states.


In addition the United
Nations passed the Human Rights Declaration In 1948 to govern the conduct and
security of every individual residing in any state that is a member of United Nations.
The declaration clearly spelt out the fundamental rights and principles of all citizens.
This shows observance of international Law. States mutually agreed on how their
citizens should be handled   and all
crimes against humanity to be an international offence. Today human rights
violation has been condemned and there have been cases that has been handled .For
instance Iraq former leader Saddam Hussein was charged by the United Nations
Security Council with a crime of using chemical and biological weapons against
his citizens as well the citizens of Kuwait in 1990.




 States feel this necessity of international
law because it imports an element of stability and predictability into the
situation. Where countries are involved in a disagreement or a dispute, it is
handy to have recourse to the rules of international law even if there are
conflicting interpretations since there is a common frame of reference and one
state will be aware of how the other state will develop its argument. They will
both be talking a common language and this factor of communication is vital
since misunderstandings occur so easily and often with tragic consequences. ,
they are at least on the same wavelength and communicate by means of the same


Also the Vienna
Convention on the Law of Treaties of 1969 further validates international law.




Article 53 of the
convention makes void all other treaties if there has been a violation of
peremptory norms jus congens. These jus congens are crimes against humanity
hence they attract the consent of the international society as well as the
world court to intervene and protect citizens. The Nuremberg and Tokyo
Tribunals set up by the victorious Allies after the close of the Second World
War were a vital part of this process. Many of those accused were found guilty
of crimes against humanity and against peace and were punished accordingly


The international
Criminal Court ICJ has resolved a lot of disputes between nations in order to
keep their peace. One example was in1992 when the World Court settled a long
standing dispute between El Salvador and Honduras over a territorial dispute
along the six stretches of border and territorial waters. The dispute had
resulted in a war in 1969.The world court drew borders that gave about two
thirds of the land to Honduras and splitter the territorial water among the
both countries.  Both countries abided by
the decision.


Moreover in 2002 , The
World Court resolved a long standing dispute over an oil rich peninsula  on the Cameroon and Nigerian Borders
.Following the considerations and interpretation of the provisions ,the World  Court then 
gave ownership  to Cameroon
.Nigeria  being the powerful  state 
had not pulled out its troops  
and in early 2005 the court 
ensured that negotiations continued on the implementation of ruler ship.


However such a thing as
international law is a cosmetic feature .It is there but not fully exercised
and exhausted. There various setbacks and questions on the existence of this
law .Firstly there is no international police to enforce states to abide by the
law. Enforcement of international law is more depended upon the power of states
themselves, individually or collectively to punish an aggressor. It has no legislature.


 Moreover enforcement of international Law is
highly depended on reciprocity.  Mostly
states choose to follow International Law because they want other states to do so.
For instance in World War II neither side used chemical weapons in the phase of
the war because the other side could have responded by using chemical weapons
too and costs would be high on both sides. It is because of the issue of power
that forces other states to abide by international law, meaning other illegal
actions under international Law may sometimes be considered legal if it was in
response to the illegal actions of other states. .




States quite often do
not pursue one particular course of action which might bring them short-term
gains, because it could disrupt the mesh of reciprocal tolerance which could
very well bring long-term disadvantages. For example, states everywhere protect
the immunity of foreign diplomats for not to do so would place their own
officials abroad at risk. This constitutes an inducement to states to act
reasonably and moderate


An in-depth analysis on
the World Court shows one great weakness of allowing states to make a choice
regarding matters they can bring for jurisdiction. Article 36 of the ICJ Statute,
“Optional Clauses” allows parties whether they want to give the court
compulsory Jurisdiction over its current and future dispute but only a third
have signed it. Those signatories have furthermore added their own stipulations
reserving their rights and limiting the degree to which the Court can infringe
its national sovereignty. In particular, United States’ of America   withdrew from optional clauses when it was
sued by Nicaragua in 1986 over CIA, s mining in Nicaragua. Another good example
was in 1979, when Iran refused to acknowledge jurisdiction of the court over
its seizure of the United States embassy in Iran.


Above all there is no
executive or governing entity. The Security Council of the United Nations,
which was intended to have such a role in a sense, has at times been
effectively constrained by the veto power of the five permanent members (USA;
USSR, now the Russian Federation; China; France; and the United kingdom).Thus,
if there is no identifiable institution either to establish rules, or to
clarify them or see that those who break them are punished, how can what is
called international law be law?


 The range of topics covered by international
law has expanded hand in hand with the upsurge in difficulties faced and the
proliferation in the number of participants within the system. It is no longer
exclusively concerned with issues relating to the territory or jurisdiction of
states narrowly understood, but is beginning to take into account the
specialised problems of contemporary society. Many of these have already been
referred to, such as the vital field of human rights, the growth of an
international economic law covering financial and development matters, concern
with environmental despoliation, the space exploration effort and the
exploitation of the resources o. Many of these trends may be seen as falling
within, or rather reflecting, the phenomenon of globalisation, a term which
encompasses the inexorable movement to greater interdependence founded upon





Communications and
cultural bases and operating quite independently of national regulation. This
in turn stimulates disputes of an almost ideological nature concerning, for
example, the relationship between free trade and environmental protection. To
this may be added the pressures of democracy and human rights, both operating
to some extent as countervailing influences to the classical emphasis upon the
territorial sovereignty and jurisdiction of state.


The international law
is faced with a challenge on the time and method of introducing a new customs
and rules into the already existing framework in order that the law will
continue to be recognised as law. Changes that occur within the international
community can be momentous and reverberate throughout the system. According to (Malcolm,
2008) given example, “The advent of nuclear arms created a status quo in Europe
and a balance of terror throughout the world. It currently constitutes a factor
of unease as certain states seek to acquire nuclear technology. Another example
is the technological capacity to mine the oceans and the consequent questions
as to the nature and beneficiaries of exploitation.”  The rise of international terrorism has
posited new challenges to the system as states and international organisations
struggle to deal with this phenomenon while retaining respect for the
sovereignty of states and for human rights.


principle of non intervention has also restricted international law according
to UN Charter, Article 2 1945 reads 7,” Nothing contained
in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in
matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or
shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the
present Charter;” makes   it difficult
for the council intervene in certain cases that require international
involvement. Even if there is a clear violation of a principle the court’s
jurisdiction is limited. For instance the President of Zimbabwe off the
record  it is believed that he  been involved in  much of the disappearances and killing of
opposition party  individuals during
his  campaign and voting in 2008 and
he  denied the case  because 
the matter was of  domestic  nature. Why then do we have international










In a nutshell,
International law   might seem to be a
cosmetic feature but states see it as crucial for maintenance of the relations,
dispute resolutions, advisory mechanism as well as a cohesion tool for states
to the good conduct of their citizens. However, international law is based on reciprocity,
limited by states sovereignty, poor enforcement as well as optional clauses.
Though the existence of international law can be argued as evaluated above, it
seems its available is and can be confirmed based on the information provided
in this essay. Such a thing as International Law is there.