Jump to navigation Jump to search “Law of Nations” redirects here. For the 18th-century international law united kingdom currency trading treatise, see The Law of Nations.
Illustrated title page “Hugo the Great of the Truth of the Christian Worship. Along with the earlier works of Francisco de Vitoria and Alberico Gentili, Hugo Grotius laid the foundations for international law, based on natural law. International law is the set of rules generally regarded and accepted in relations between nations. It serves as a framework for the practice of stable and organized international relations. This means that a state member may choose to not abide by international law, and even to break its treaty. This is an issue of state sovereignty.
Sir Alberico Gentili is regarded as the Father of international law. The current order of international law, the equality of sovereignty between nations, was formed through the conclusion of the “Peace of Westphalia” in 1648. Prior to 1648, on the basis of the purpose of war or the legitimacy of war, it sought to distinguish whether the war was a “just war” or not. The 17th, 18th and 19th centuries saw the growth of the concept of the sovereign “nation-state”, which consisted of a nation controlled by a centralised system of government.
The concept of nationalism became increasingly important as people began to see themselves as citizens of a particular nation with a distinct national identity. The modern study of international law starts in the early 19th century, but its origins go back at least to the 16th century, and Alberico Gentili, Francisco de Vitoria and Hugo Grotius, the “fathers of international law. Under article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice, international law has three principal sources: international treaties, custom, and general principles of law. International treaty law comprises obligations states expressly and voluntarily accept between themselves in treaties. Customary international law is derived from the consistent practice of States accompanied by opinio juris, i. States that the consistent practice is required by a legal obligation.
Colombia v Perú ICJ 6, recognising custom as a source of international law, but a practice of giving asylum was not part of it. International law is sourced from decision makers and researchers looking to verify the substantive legal rule governing a legal dispute or academic discourse. The sources of international law applied by the community of nations to find the content of international law are listed under Article 38. The sources have been influenced by a range of political and legal theories. During the 20th century, it was recognized by legal positivists that a sovereign state could limit its authority to act by consenting to an agreement according to the principle pacta sunt servanda. Where there are disputes about the exact meaning and application of national laws, it is the responsibility of the courts to decide what the law means. In international law interpretation is within the domain of the protagonists, but may also be conferred on judicial bodies such as the International Court of Justice, by the terms of the treaties or by consent of the parties.
A treaty shall be interpreted in good faith in accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to the terms of the treaty in their context and in the light of its object and purpose. The subjective approach, which takes into consideration i. A third approach, which bases itself on interpretation “in the light of its object and purpose”, i. Greece v United Kingdom ICJ 1, ICJ had no jurisdiction to hear a dispute between the UK government and a private Greek businessman under the terms of a treaty. United Kingdom v Iran ICJ 2, the ICJ did not have jurisdiction for a dispute over the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. ICJ 4, rejected dispute over damage to ships which hit a mine. International law establishes the framework and the criteria for identifying states as the principal actors in the international legal system.
In theory all states are sovereign and equal. As a result of the notion of sovereignty, the value and authority of international law is dependent upon the voluntary participation of states in its formulation, observance, and enforcement. Traditionally, sovereign states and the Holy See were the sole subjects of international law. With the proliferation of international organizations over the last century, they have in some cases been recognized as relevant parties as well. The conflict between international law and national sovereignty is subject to vigorous debate and dispute in academia, diplomacy, and politics.