International law entails the body of rules and principles that are established through customs or treaties, and are accredited by nations and international organizations as binding in their interactions with each other. (Malanczuk 2).
International law is not a world law, but is instead a law that exists between compliant sovereign states, with each nation having the liberty to choose the laws it wants to adhere. (Malanczuk 4). Despite its limited capability, the law has, however, been instrumental in the development of a system of both procedures and rules in various aspects of human need, such as, establishing of human rights.
International law differs from the federal law in various ways. In the U.S, both the state and federal governments are charged with the enforcement of the American domestic law. When it comes to the international law, however, neither the government, nor the international organizations can enforce the law (Malanczuk 33).
International law also differs with the federal law, in that, the international law consists of conventions, treaties, and charters that come into play only with the mutual approval of the contracting nations or international organizations. Federal laws, on the other hand, are only acknowledged by the legislature of the respective federal or national government.
Examples of international law include the universal declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted in 1948. The law stipulates the entitlement of freedom and the right to the protection and promotion of human rights worldwide. The Vienna Declaration and Programme Action of 1993 reaffirmed this law with emphasis laid on the integration of economic, cultural, and social rights in addition to civil and political rights (Joyner 27).
Another example of international law is the civil and political rights for all. This law was first adopted in 1966 during the international covenant on civil and political rights.
The law stipulates that the rights acknowledged in the covenant are respected and preserved without any discrimination whatsoever, be it of race, sex, color, religion, language, political, national or social origin (Joyner 35). The law further requires that parties entitled with ensuring equal rights to all facilitate the realization of these rights. As such, all persons are considered equal before both the courts and tribunals.
International law originates from various sources raging from international agreements, resolutions passed by international organizations, customary laws, and decisions by international tribunals and courts, treaties and from some general principles of the law (Malanczuk 39). As such, international agreements (treaties, conventions, and protocols) between states are considered as the oldest sources of international law.
The customary law is developed by states after adhering to ascribe to certain customs that all parties must remain obliged (Malanczuk 39). As such, the international community is in many cases involved in the creation and formulation of these laws. The international community facilitates this by the development and signing of covenants between member states on how to deal with arising legal challenges among them.
The United Nations also plays an essential role in the development and enforcement of international law. In this regard, among the many objectives of the UN is to establish conditions through which, the facilitation of both justice and respect, with respect to the obligations that arise from treaties, together with other sources of international law are maintained. (Joyner 45).
The UN is not only a forum for discussion on international matters among nations, through its various organs, it’s also an instrument that facilitates multilateral peacekeeping. This is in the UN’s vision of progressive development of international law in areas of dispute resolution, in addition to the promotion of, social, economic, and political goals (Joyner 46).
In the event that international law is enforced in a world without a central government authority, the international law can still be enforced in various ways. As such, the United Nations Security Council, which is tasked with maintaining of security internationally, has the power to enforce international law through ways, such as, imposing economic sanctions and severe diplomatic relations (Joyner 51).
Joyner, Christopher C. The United Nations and International Law. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1997. Print.
Malanczuk, Peter. Akekurst’s Modern Introduction to International Law. Routledge press, 1997. Print.