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					The Legal Character of
  International Law
          International Law
 Public and private international law
 Sources of international law
 The International Court of Justice
 The Legal Character of International Law
 Public and Private International
 Public International Law: rules and
  principles which govern the relations and
  dealings of nations with each other
 Private International Law (Conflict of
  Laws): disputes between persons, natural or
  legal, arising out of situations having
  significant relationship to more than one
      Public International Law
 Questions the rights between several nations
  or nations and citizens or subjects of other
 Deals with environmental issues, arms
  control, asylum, human rights, immigration,
  international crime, maritime law, piracy,
  war crimes
     Sources of Public Int. Law
1.   Treaties and international conventions
2.   Customary international law
3.   General principles common to systems of
     national law
4.   Subsidiary means (court decisions and
   Treaties and international conventions –
    written agreements concluded by two or
    more sovereign nations or by a nation and
    an international organization (such as the
    European Union)
            Customary Law
 Regulations and procedures contained in
  treaties and conventions often develop into
  general customary usage
 Even those states that did not sign and ratify
  them come to consider them as binding
The International Court of Justice
 The principal judicial body of the UN
 Its seat is in The Hague (Netherlands)
 Began its work in 1946
 Composition: 15 judges elected to nine-year
  terms of office by the UN General
  Assembly and Security Council
       Functions of the Court
 To settle in accordance with international
  law the legal disputes submitted to it by
 To give advisory opinion on legal questions
  referred to it by authorized international
  organs and agencies
    Legal Character of Int. Law
 International law v. international morality
 A branch of law or a branch of ethics?
     A branch of law - arguments
1.   Questions of international law are treated as
     legal questions
2.   Legal forms and methods are used in judicial
     and arbitral proceedings
3.   Authorities and precedents are cited in
4.   The alleged breach of international law is
     defended by claiming that no rule has been
    Law as a will of a political
 Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) – a British
  political philosopher
 In his book Leviathan he claimed that, since
  people think only of themselves and behave
  badly, it is best if they are ruled by one
  powerful authority
     Law depending on a political
   Sir Frederick Pollock – the only essential
    conditions for the existence of law are the
    existence of a political community, and the
    recognition by its members of settled rules
    binding upon them in that capacity
          Instead of conclusion
The mistake of confusing international law with
  international morality must be avoided. While
  they may meet at certain points, the former
  discipline is a legal one, both as regards its content
  and its form, while the concept of international
  morality is a branch of ethics. This does not mean
  that international law can be divorced from its

Malcolm Shaw, International Law, Cambridge
 University Press, 2003 (p. 19)

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