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International Law

Treaties, Organs, & Institutions

Nick Young

on 30 July 2016

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Transcript of International Law

International Law & Definitions
Definition of International Law
“A normative system…All organized groups and structures require a system of normative conduct—that is to say, conduct which regarded by each actor, and by the group as a whole, as being obligatory, and for which violation carries a price.”

- Rosalyn Higgins
Treaties & Documents
Institutions, Bodies, & Organizations
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
+Established on December 10th, 1948, the declaration arose and represented the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled to. The UDHR is also one of three documents that make up the International Bill of Human Rights.
Sources of International Law
The United Nations (UN) -
The United Nations is an international organization founded in 1945 to replace its predecessor, the League of Nations. The UN Charter was signed on June 26th, 1945 in San Francisco. The organization currently has 193 member states and operates based on five principal organs, the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Secretariat, and the International Court of Justice.
The General Assembly (GA)
The Security Council (SC) -
The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) -
The Secretariat
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) -
The Charter of the United Nations -
The International Criminal Court (ICC)
Sovereignty -
Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme independent authority over a geographic area such as a territory. Sovereignty is considered by many states to be their claim of authority & autonomy, however, this has been challenged in the past century most notably by the doctrine of humanitarian intervention as well as the phenomenon of globalization.
The ICC is a permanent tribunal that has the ability to prosecute individuals for four main crimes; genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression. Headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands, the court was established on the Rome Statute that came into force on July 1st, 2002. As of July of 2012, 121 states are party to the Statute of the Court
-The ICJ, also known as the World Court, is the primary judicial organ of the UN. Established in 1945 by the ICJ Statue within the UN Charter and based in The Hague, Netherlands, its main functions include settling legal disputes and providing advisory opinions on legal questions submitted by the UN general assembly, the UN Security Council, ECOSOC, the Trusteeship Council, and the Interim Committee of the General Assembly.
(For other specialized agencies authorized to request advisory opinions from the court see here: <http://www.icj-cij.org/jurisdiction/index.php?p1=5&p2=2&p3=1>.)
The Charter of the United Nations is the foundational treaty of the organization signed in San Francisco on June 26th, 1945. It entered into force on October 24th, 1945. The Charter contains several important provisions including the the purposes of the organization and enforcement powers of UN bodies.
Responsibility to Protect (R2P) -
The "Bush Doctrine" -
Crimes the International Criminal Court is authorized to prosecute.
Systems of International Law (and how they work) -
Jus ad bellum
Initiation of conflict
Governs -
Addressed to -
Protects -
International Humnitarian Law (Jus in bello)
Conduct during conflict
Opposing forces, civilians, and non-combatants.
International Human Rights Law
Conduct at all times
All persons on the territory or under the jurisdiction of the state
International Criminal Law
Conduct during conflict
Opposing forces, civilians, and non-combatants.
Criminal Law
International Human Rights Law
International Humanitarian Law (IHL)
International humanitarian law (also known as the law of armed conflict, ius in bello, and jus in bello) is the law that regulates the conduct of armed conflicts. IHL defines the conduct and responsibilities of belligerent nations, neutral nations, individuals engaged in warfare in relation to each other, and to protected persons, especially civilians.
International human rights law refers to the specific body within international law that is designed to promote and protect human rights at the international, regional, and domestic levels.
International criminal law is the specific body within international law designed to prohibit certain categories of conduct viewed as serious atrocities, principally, genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes/wars of aggression.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) -
NAFTA is an agreement signed by the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States. The treaty creates a trilateral trade bloc in North America. The agreement came into force in 1994.
What are Human Rights?
The United Nations Secretariat is one of the principal organs of the United Nations. The secretariat serves as a forum for member-states to discuss and resolve pressing issues within the international field. The activities of the Secretariat are performed by a staff of 44,000 civil servants from around the world. The description and functions of the position are vague and the UN Charter is not specific, however duties include notifications of meetings and publishing of treaties.
The UN Economic and Social Council is responsible for coordinating the economic, social, and related work of 14 UN specialized agencies and five regional commissions. ECOSOC serves as the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues.
The UN Security Council is the main organ in charge of international peace and security. There are 15 members on the Security Council, of which 5 are permanent members whom wield a veto. The other 10 non-permanent members serve two year terms with five elected each year. The UNSC is the only UN organ that can submit binding resolutions.
The UN General Assembly is another principal organ of the UN with powers that oversee the budget of the UN, the appointment of non-permanent members to the Security Council, and making recommendations in the form of General Assembly Resolutions.
The "Bush Doctrine" is a phrase used to describe the various related foreign policy principles used by former U.S. president George W. Bush. The phrase specifically refers to the controversial issue of preemptive self-defense.
An initiative established by the UN in 2005. R2P is considered to be only an emerging norm, and not a law. It provides a framework for using tools that already exist for example economic sanctioning and Chapter VII powers to prevent mass atrocities. It should be noted that there are three key pillars to R2P:
1) A state has a primary responsibility to protect its populations from mass atrocities.

2) The international community has a responsibility to assist the state to fulfill its primary responsibility.

3) If the state fails to protect is citizens from mass atrocities and peaceful measures have failed, the international community has the responsibility to intervene through coercive measures such as economic sanctions. Military intervention is considered the last resort.
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia - (ICTY)
The ICTY is a body of the UN established to prosecute crimes committed during the wars in the former Yugoslavia. The tribunal is an ad-hoc court established in 1993 in the Hague, the Netherlands. Since its establishment, the court has indicted 161 individuals. These individuals ranged from soldiers and generals to police commanders and Prime Ministers.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) -
-The ICJ, also known as the World Court, is the primary judicial organ of the UN. Established in 1945 by the ICJ Statue within the UN Charter and based in The Hague, Netherlands, its main functions include settling legal disputes and providing advisory opinions on legal questions submitted by the UN general assembly, the UN Security Council, ECOSOC, the Trusteeship Council, and the Interim Committee of the General Assembly.
(For other specialized agencies authorized to request advisory opinions from the court see here: <http://www.icj-cij.org/jurisdiction/index.php?p1=5&p2=2&p3=1>.)
European Court of Human Rights -
The European Court of Human Rights is a supra-national court established by the European Convention on Human Rights initially in 1959, and then permanently in 1998. The court is located in Strasbourg, France and has 47 member states as parties to the establishing convention.
International Bill of Human Rights
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) -
The ICCPR is the 2nd of three treaties that make up the international bill of human rights. Its parties commit to respecting the civil and political rights of individuals including the right to life, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and rights to a fair trial. It was drafted in 1954, signed in 1966, and came into force in 1976. The treaty currently has 74 signatories and 167 parties.
International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) -
The ICESCR is the third and final treaty included in the international bill of human rights. The treaty binds its parties to work toward granting economic, social, and cultural rights to individuals including rights to labor, right to health, and the right to education.
The Geneva Conventions -
The term "Geneva Conventions" refers to the four treaties and three additional protocols that make up the core of international humanitarian law. The four main conventions themselves were ratified by all 194 existing member-states (as of 2013). The conventions and the additional protocols are officially termed the following attachments; collectively they are referred to as the Geneva Convention of 1949.
The Four Conventions -
The Three Additional Protocols -
+ The First Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field (1864).

+ The Second Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea (1906).

+ The Third Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War (1929).

+ The Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (1949).
+ Protocol I (1977) relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts.

+ Protocol II (1977) relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts.

+ Protocol III (2005) relating to the Adoption of an Additional Distinctive Emblem.
The Hague Conventions (The Law of the Hague -
The Hague Conventions were two international treaties negotiated at international peace conferences at The Hague in the Netherlands. There were two conventions, the first occurring in 1899, the second in 1907. The main purpose for the first convention was to ban the use of certain types of modern technology in war. The main purpose for the second convention expanded on the first and dealt more with regulating the rules of war and the rights and obligations of neutrals.
Jurisdiction -
Jurisdiction in its general sense refers to the authority granted to a legal body to be able to deal with legal matters and to administer justice within a defined (typically geographic) area. However, within public international law, there are three distinct types of jurisdiction.
Territorial Jurisdiction -
Territorial jurisdiction is the type of jurisdiction a legal body may assert over crimes or subjects within only its own territory.
National Jurisdiction -
National jurisdiction is the jurisdiction a legal body may exercise over crimes or subjects within its national territory, as well as nationals abroad.
Universal Jurisdiction -
Universal jurisdiction is a type of jurisdiction that allows states to claim criminal jurisdiction over an accused person regardless of where the alleged crime was committed, regardless of the accused's nationality, country of residence, or any other relation with the prosecuting entity.
Persons of International Law
The Child
The UN Convention of the Rights of the Child defines a child as a "human being below the age of 18 years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier".
The Refugee
As defined by the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, a refugee is defined as "Any person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country".
The Combatant
As defined by the Hague Convention of 1907, a combatant, whom by nature participates openly in hostilities, is defined as the following;
1) To be commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates.

2) To have a fixed, distinctive emblem recognizable at a distance.

3) To carry arms openly.

4) To conduct their operation in accordance with the laws of war.
Latin Phrases
Ius (Jus) ad bellum
Jus Cogens
Within international law there are five main sources that are stated in Article 38 of the Statute of the ICJ:
1) Treaties
2) Customary Law
3) General Principles of Law
4) Judicial Decisions of the ICJ
5) Doctrine ("teachings of the most highly qualified publicists of various nations, as subsidiary means for the determination of rules of law").
A treaty is an express agreement, under international law, entered into by two or more parties, typically sovereign states and international organizations. The treaty is considered the strongest form of binding law within the hierarchy of sources.
Customary law is established, when a certain pattern of behavior can be objectively verified within a certain social setting. Customary law has two key elements;

1) Objective Element:
The actual legal practice or action that occurs (or does not occur).

2) Subjective Element:
Opinio juris - The relevant actor considers it to be law or a legal obligation.
Translating as the "law towards war" this phrase refers to the laws that regulate the reasons for going to war.
Also known as a peremptory norm, jus cogens refers to a principle, within international law that is accepted by the international community as a whole, that should never be derogated from (i.e. genocide, war crimes, & crimes against humanity).
Genocide is defined in article 2 within the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Genocide is defined as "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national ethnic, racial or religious group, as such:
a) Killing members of the group;
b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
d) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
War crimes are serious violations of the laws applicable in armed conflict (also known as international humanitarian law). Examples of such conduct include murder, the ill-treatment or deportation of civilian residents to slave labor camps, the ill-treatment of prisoners of war, and any devastation not justified by military, or civilian necessity".
War Crimes
Crimes against humanity are defined as "particularly odious offenses in that they constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of one or more human beings."
Crimes Against Humanity
A crime or war of aggression is a military conflict waged without the justification of self-defense, and usually for territorial gain and subjugation.
Crimes/Wars of Aggression
+ Crimes Against Humanity
Crimes/Wars of Aggression
War Crimes
Jus in Bello
This term refers to the laws that regulate conduct of combatants during conflict. Topics the term and laws regulate include who is a valid target, how to treat prisoners, and what types of weapons can be used.
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