International law is a true law or not?
International law is one of the most controversial issue that has been debated and discussed since beginning. All the rules and laws regulating the relations between the states is a part of international law. It’s a too difficult to answer whether international law is a true law or not? One view is that it is not a true law because “it is a code of the rules of conduct of moral force ” while other view is that it as a true law just like a domestic law, which are binding upon the individuals of the society (Singh, 2003). We are living in the age of science and technology which has made many changes in the world community. There was a time when people fought wars and kill each other and kept the enemy as a salve as long as they could. There was no restriction and laws against the abolition of life, liberty and property. With the passage of time they shifted towards the new era know as globalization. In the age of globalization, all types of international institutions are keen to influence other territories by the help of international law. The international organizations always tried to strength their power over local and regional institutions by mean of international conventions and international treaties. This influence has been increases due to the influence of international law. The increasing influence over domestic law by international law is also due to the age of globalization. With Globalization, there came interdependence, where States some to business with each other more frequently: one example is the affluence in open trade where open markets started flourishing. To these relations between states, International law serves as a framework of legality and guideline. The national development and progress depend on its relations with other countries. Without true relations a country can’t progress, so countries need to develop healthy relations with other countries for their own interest.
First of all, we need to understand what actually law is. Anthropologists think that by nature men are social animals, others argue that men are social but partially, so from the beginning of human society men need each other for protection and thus the origin of law penetrated in the society. Without the help of other person, a man can’t do anything despite of being bigger, rich and smarter. Without social interaction all of his powers and abilities are useless, so for the survival in the society men has made some set of rules and regulations and that set of rules and regulation to govern every day relations and affairs and it is termed as law. Jurists have defined law differently from different views. In Hindu society it has been called as Dhamma and jurisprudence in Islamic society therefore law depends on culture, traditions and religion. It is not an easy task to define the term law due to its complexities.
According to Black’s Law dictionary (Garner, 2004), “Law consists of Rules of action or conduct, these rules are issued by an authority in addition these rules have binding force and are obeyed and followed by citizens”. There are some fundamental features of law, first one is Generality; Law is general rule of conduct, it does not target any specific individual or individual’s behavior like “everyone has right to liberty, life and security of person”. Therefore, we can say that law is more general which means the law is applicable to the masses without any specifications or discrimination. Second feature of law is normality; as law does not identify or target human behavior but it manipulates human behavior. It is to stabilize the society and for the development and progress of society. The last feature of law is its sanctions; it is mandatory for every citizen in a society to follow the law, if not he will be punished according to law. The purpose of punishment is to ensure that the culprit has made a fault and he is responsible for this act, he should correct it. The sanctions and punishments depend on the situation hence every society sets certain set of rules in order to smoothly run the system.
The society which sets the law for its people called domestic law which is limited to a certain geographical boundary or with in the territory of a country, as mentioned above that in the age of globalization all the countries are inter linked with each other for specific purposes and self-interest so there would be some laws to strengthen the relations between the countries which is known as international law. It is necessary to understand international law in detail; it is defined as, “A set of laws that govern not only the relation between nations but also relations between the states and citizens as well as international organizations”. (Cornell). International law plays a vital role to deal with the conflict between the countries. It is also based on the agreements between the states and treaties. Treaties are the most important element in international law. The crucial issues of the world like pollution, climate change, trade and all the issues are regulated and controlled by the international law because these issues are not confined to one state but for all the countries. There is a huge difference between the domestic law and international law. The domestic or national law comes from custom traditions and legislature for making the law and forces for its implementation. While international law lacks the executive. and legislature, as it has no centralized institution or authority. It has no power or force to make law binding upon nation states. Domestic law consists of all executive, legislative and judicial. In international law, those people who violated domestic law will receive punishment. While in International Law, one the country interest depends, whether they are going to sign a treaty of a particular international law like the agreement on extradition between United States and European Union’s where Morocco has not sign an extradition treaty with United States of America. The controversial nuclear war agreement between Iran and six other countries in which Iran withdraw from the agreement. So international organizations have lack of force or central power, to enforce state who are violating law. It’s difficult to answer whether international law is a true law or not? Some jurist favors that it is not a true law. Jurists like Hobbes, Bentham, and Pufendorf are of the view that it is not legally binding on states. In the 19th century the British jurist Austin came with the view that law should be enacted by sovereign legislative authority, a law which is not impose by sovereign authority cannot be said as a true law. (Austin, 1790) The theory of neo realism which is associated with Kenneth waltz according to him power is the most important factor in international politics. According to him the system of international system is anarchic which means the international system is lack of central authority or government. With no global authority which provide global security and stability in international relation. International law is structured by anarchy imprisoned by domestic law which is structured by hierarchy. Every actor in international system is responsible for its own security and stability. Every state makes a competition with other state to concern development and security. There is in- balanced of power like some countries have atomic energy while other have lack of atomic weapons. A state having high power trying to convince other states which are economically weaker and the stronger state take advantage of it. Like in Syria and Palestine which are weaker states and the powerful countries like USA and Russia trying to capture the resources and violating the international laws for self-interest. Israel always take advantage of being atomic power and killing innocent people in Gaza despite United Nations General assembly passed bill against the Israel. Many united nation resolutions have expressed the settlements in west bank and Golan Heights as illegal yet it cannot be enforced. Similarly, the Britain is violating international law in many fronts like they have conducted exercise and arms training with Israel navy, who captured the Gaza illegally and forcefully. The international organizations are silent because these are powerful countries and main sponsored for international organization. Similarly, what’s happening in Kashmir, everyday people are killed? The women are rapped and the students are unable to get involved in politics and studies. The world community is still in silence and international organizations are not taking any action, just because it’s a powerful country and the people of Kashmir are deprived from all aspects of life. Therefore, due to lack of credible system of sanctions we can say it as not true law. It’s just an international positive morality
Most of the jurist claims that international law is really a law. They believe that the central power or any force is not compulsory if we accept the Austin concept of law then the common law of England loses its validity. Due to the influence of international organizations many countries strengthened their progress and development. International law gives opportunities for a poor country to get involved in world business and trade. Almost seventeen organizations are working to finish poverty in developing countries. Many organizations are working to eliminate poverty, literacy and disease from developing areas. Similarly, UNISEF fight for children rights all over the globe. They try to end extreme poverty by creating different opportunities in the region. International organizations trying to develop good relations among the states in order to maintain peace and order situation all over the world, US-USSR arms-controlled agreement in 1970 is to reduce substantial weapons it shows that international organization is keen toward the peace in the age of globalization. Similarly, Montreal protocol in 1970 to protecting the environment .so there are many agreements for the welfare of the people therefore one can’t deny that international law is not law.
So, we can conclude that International Law is a kind of law that is striving for perfection and efficiency, because it is recent phenomenon, it requires a lot of time to attain the status of domestic law. At this point of time, it would be unfair to expect it efficiency and working with that of Domestic law, as it has no centralized institution and to the matter of fact it operates in an anarchic scenario. International Law has a lot of positive aspects like as discussed above and on the other hand it has some lacking as well.