International Law

international law

International law is the legal framework that regulates interactions between nations, multinational corporations, nongovernmental organizations and individuals. While historically, it focused on the agreements and norms that govern states during peacetime or war, today international law also applies to non-state actors such as terrorist groups, paramilitaries, drug dealers and other criminals.

In order to create binding international law, states must ratify and accede to multilateral treaties. These treaties contain the rights and obligations that states are bound by when they behave internationally. In addition to these treaties, international organizations like the International Court of Justice, Interpol and the Security Council can create binding law. International tribunals, including courts and arbitration panels, are another source of international law.

The Charter of the United Nations calls on the Organization to help settle disputes by peaceful means and to encourage the progressive development and codification of international law. More than 500 multilateral treaties have been deposited with the UN Secretary-General. These treaties deal with a wide variety of issues, from human rights to disarmament.

An act of a State is internationally wrongful when it violates an obligation arising under a peremptory norm of general international law from which no derogation is permitted by a treaty (art. 40). For a violation to be a breach of international responsibility, it must have seriously impaired an essential interest of the State or of the international community as a whole. Satisfaction for a breach of an international obligation shall be given in the form of restitution or compensation.

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