Is international law really enforceable?

International law is applied through the process that I describe as a violation of reciprocal rights. The violation may be of the same right or, more likely, of a different right. But in general, it is an effective process as effective for the international legal system as is the application of most laws in national systems through state-sanctioned deprivation of one or more rights of individual citizens or corporations. It is impossible to understand why nations do or refrain from doing the things they do without understanding what the rights are and how nations act to preserve their full complement of existing rights.

Since nation-states are sovereign and cannot be coerced in the same way as natural persons, the main way in which international law is enforced is when states simply enforce it internally. The most obvious thing is that this happens when national courts enforce treaties. Most nations have a certain doctrine that treaties are automatically applied as part of domestic law at the time of ratification or are enacted into law by the legislature along with ratification. As a result, they are enforced by domestic courts as other national laws would.

More commonly but subtly, this occurs when nations simply choose not to act because they fear the consequences of violating international law. These consequences can be concrete, since the implementation mechanisms discussed below, or general, such as nations that fail to comply with their obligations, will become less credible and therefore less able to engage effectively with the international community and pursue its interests. While this form of execution is almost invisible, it is widely accepted as the most important factor in enforcing international law. International law is the term given to the rules governing relations between states.

If you have a personal connection, such as at home, you can run an antivirus scan on your device to make sure it is not infected with malware. If you are in an office or on a shared network, you can ask your network administrator to perform a network scan for infected or misconfigured devices. Some nations and international organizations also claim that nations are bound by the principles of customary international law, which is the controversial idea that certain customs bind all States, even if they do not recognize them and are not party to any treaty that establishes them. Such a decision would have weight as evidence of international law only when the tribunal is of a very high standard and when the question of international law is fundamental to the case and receives careful consideration.

In cases such as these, international law may have a lot of moral legitimacy, but the ability of States to ignore it in their own interests demonstrates that international law is a guide rather than a true “law”. As such, the United States had a great influence on the formulation and orientation of the Geneva Conventions and is well aware of the true intention behind principles such as Common Article 3, which states that “certain minimum rules of war apply to armed conflicts that are not of an international character [26]. and common article 2, which states that “the Geneva Conventions apply to all cases of international conflict, in which at least one of the belligerent nations has ratified the Conventions. While in many cases it serves as a stabilizing factor in the international system, and can even be called a force for good, international law cannot be considered “law” when applied to States or to State action.

Proclaimed by many as the harbinger of a new era of cooperation in international humanitarian law, the United Nations Convention against Torture presents an interesting case study of why international law is not law at all. International treaties, State custom and practice, and judicial decisions are important sources of international law. International law covers all aspects of life in the international system, from trade and navigation to war and torture. Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice includes, among the possible sources of international law, “judicial decisions as a subsidiary means of determining the rules of law”.

All nations operate within public international law, a disorganized amalgam of customs, treaties and international organizations that dictate how nations should interact with each other and, in a more limited capacity, how they can act within their own borders. In addition to the decisions of international judicial bodies, the decisions of a national court may amount to a statement of what that court considers international law on a given issue. While bilateral treaties or treaties between only a few States may best resemble a contract between individuals, multilateral treaties such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea are often referred to as “legislative treaties” in the sense that they represent, insofar as the legal order international is approaching, international law. .