What Is International Law?

international law

International law is a broad legal concept that regulates the conduct of business and communications, the environment, human rights, and other aspects of global society. Its objective is to protect the rights of individuals and societies, and to ensure that treaties and other instruments of international law are respected.

International law originated from the 15th century when a confluence of factors, such as the introduction of the printing press, spurred the development of humanism. This was followed by increased European exploration, which challenged scholars to formulate conceptual frameworks.

For most of its history, international law was limited to agreements between sovereign states. However, modern developments have ceded power to international bodies. These include the United Nations, which has an objective to maintain the rule of law and to protect human rights.

International law can also be used to guide nonprofit organizations, which can then use it as a tool for effective management of their programs. The scope of international law is wide, and includes corporations, international non-state groups, and private actors.

Traditionally, international law focused on relations between states during wartime. In the post-Cold War era, the idea of a permanent international court grew in prominence. After the massacres in Cambodia, a permanent court was urgently needed.

The International Court of Justice is a judicial branch of the United Nations. Founded in 1946, it has ruled over over 170 cases.

There are also a number of international tribunals, each with varying degrees of relationship to the United Nations. They include the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which was established after the end of the Cold War.

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