International Law Definition: a body of rules established by custom or treaty and recognized by nations as binding in their relations with one another.
Public International Law:
Interactions between provinces and international entities
Including: Treaty law Law of sea Criminal law International humanitarian law
Private International Law:
Concerning: International Protection of Children International Protection of Adults Relations between (former) spouses Wills, Trusts and Estates Contracts Torts Securities Recognition of Companies Jurisdiction/Access to justice issues
When nations explicitly submit their right to make judicial decisions by treaty to a set a common tribunal. Examples: the Articles of Confederation, between the 13 sovereign states of the early United States The International Court of Justice
Sources of Law
Customary Law: ex.: A state that carries out or permits slavery, torture, genocide, war of aggression, and crimes against humanity –> Silence as Consent: ex.: Customary laws are pervasive enough to be binding even if not consented to by states. –> Some are Codified: By treaties or domestic law. ex.: Laws of war (jus in bello) were codified in the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, and the Geneva Conventions.
There’s not a single overarching state actor, so who enforces the law?
6 bodies of the UN:
General Assembly Economic and Social Council International Court of Justice Security Council Trusteeship Council Secretariat
The International Court of Justice, since 1945
Location: The Hague, Netherlands Jurisdiction: Worldwide, 193 state parties Number of Justices: 15 Judge term length: 9 years
Two states that agree to submit to the ruling of the court may be parties in contentious cases. Individuals, corporations, parts of a federal state, NGOs, UN organs, and self-determination groups cannot be parties.
Previous Contentious Cases:
1980: US complaining that Iran was detaining American diplomats. 1984: Maritime boundary dispute regarding boundary between the U.S. and Canada in the Gulf of Maine. 1985: Boundary drawing dispute regarding the continental shelf between Tunisia and Libya.  1999: Yugoslavia questioned the legality of use of force by the US and NATO in the Kosovo War.
The International Court of Justice is not bound by previous precedents, though they may consider them. Cases are only binding to the incidents being considered in them.
The court issues both binding judgements and advisory opinions. Judgements are enforced by the Security Council
The International Criminal Court, since 2002 Location: The Hague, Netherlands/ anywhere Jurisdiction: 122 states —Where: 1.) the accused is a national or a state party. 2.) the crime was committed on a territory 3.) or, a situation is referred by the UN Security Council Number of Justices: 18 (in three chambers: pre-trial, trial, and appeals)
The US, China, and India are not members of the court Members of the UN are automatically members of the ICC–> but must individually join the ICJ
Crimes that can be judged in the International Criminal Court include:
Genocide Crimes against humanity War crimes And the crime of aggression
35 individuals indicted– 8 in custody 2 appearing voluntarily 7 acquitted or charges dismissed 10 fugitives 3 dead 2 arrested by other authorities 3 other
In the nations of: Democratic Republic of Congo Uganda Central African Republic Darfur, Sudan Kenya Libya Ivory Coast Mali
Currently all ICC cases have prosecuted parties in Africa
So who is affected by international law?
Refugees are some of our most at risk
International law holds that states are the primary actor in the legal system.
Holding them responsible for what goes on: 1.) under their control 2.) and in their territory
Such as… Refugees– Definition: any person owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of:
Race Religion Nationality Membership of a social group Political opinion Who is outside of his country and unable or unwilling to avail himself to the protection of his country.
In 2013 there were 16.7 million refugees. Conflict and persecution force 32,200 people per day to seek protection elsewhere.
Afghanistan is the biggest source of refugees. And has been for 32 YEARS. With 1/4 of the world’s refugees being afghan.
Developing countries host over 86% of the world’s refugees.
Leaving them at risk for a variety of mistreatments and horrible living conditions.
Asylum is a right preserved in international law: [#largest asylum claim countries in 2013] Germany: 109,600 USA: 84,400 South Africa: 70,000 France: 60,200 Sweden: 54,300 Protecting potential long-term refugees.
International law is increasingly relevant in an interconnected world.