While most of us never interact with international law, we may encounter it in a number of situations. For instance, we may be victims of international human rights abuses, who seek refuge in other countries. A permanent body would provide a stronger deterrent against these crimes and be more efficient than an ad hoc one. Furthermore, standing bodies could also be cheaper. Here are a few of the main areas in which international law is used.
Firstly, international lawyers learn the different techniques and methods of determining and applying legal norms. They use a variety of tools and methods to balance conflicting rights and interests between countries. These techniques, however, do not represent value-neutrality. They involve politics and subjectivity. Thus, only by following specific procedures and using recognised modes of argumentation can they approach the goal of objectivity. Hence, international law is not a science of absolutes.
An ICJ’s jurisdiction in contentious cases is based on the consent of the parties. There is no comprehensive law enforcement system or an executive branch at the ICJ. However, the Security Council of the United Nations has the power to enact decisions imposed by the ICJ and order sanctions against the state committing a breach of international law. Using force in enforcement of international law is only permitted if there has been a prior act of aggression or a threat of aggression. This decision may be vetoed by any permanent member state.
Apart from these general rules of international law, specific treaties restrict the use of specific weapons and cultural property. The International Committee of the Red Cross developed this body of law. Henry Dunant founded the organization in 1863. It is a private humanitarian organization based in Geneva. The organization is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. It is also responsible for the creation of tribunals to prosecute war crimes. However, international law continues to evolve, and its applications are numerous.