International Law

International law is the system of rules and principles that governs the relations and conduct of sovereign States with each other and with international organizations and individuals. It encompasses a broad spectrum of issues, including international trade, diplomacy and peacekeeping. It is a dynamic field of rules, principles and practices with increasingly sophisticated structures and processes.

The development of international law is one of the primary goals of the United Nations. Its Charter, in its Preamble, set as an objective “to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained”.

Several speakers emphasized the value that international law provides to the global community of States, international organizations and individuals. It creates a framework and common set of procedures for international interactions and offers States, individuals and groups of people a sense of security, stability and predictability. It enables them to pursue their legitimate interests in the international arena and achieve the objectives of the United Nations.

The sources of international law include international custom (general state practice accepted as law), treaties and the general principles of law recognised by most national legal systems. In addition, there are also legal instruments created by international organizations such as treaty resolutions and judicial decisions rendered in cases brought before the Court. The teachings of highly qualified writers on Jurisprudence are considered a subsidiary means of determination of law and may serve to clarify the content of the law.

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Cape Town, South Africa