International law has evolved through a series of universal and regional organizations. In some cases, international law is de jure, meaning that it has a legal basis that is independent of the particular contents of the text. This translates into a moral obligation for all parties to follow the law. It also includes principles such as terrorism, human rights, and the rights of minorities and other groups.
The legitimacy of international law is determined by two main theories. First, there is the consent theory. This theory traces legitimacy of international law to consent of the subjects. If the states consent expressly or implicitly, they are bound to follow the law. The other way that a state consents is by its failure to object. In addition, international law includes norms that came into being prior to the formation of a state, a concept known as jus cogens.
Another controversial issue is the issue of sovereignty. While some states have claimed to be sovereign, others have asserted their right to self-determination. In other words, self-determination is a means of asserting a people’s right to be the ultimate authority over their own affairs. As a result, international law no longer remains insulated from the tensions between state and people.
The development of international law has a long history. Its origins date back to antiquity. The Mesopotamian city-states Lagash and Umma signed peace treaties around 2100 BCE. In addition, polities from the eastern Mediterranean to East Asia negotiated and concluded different international agreements.