You see things and say 'Why?'; but I dream things that never were and I say 'Why not?

      George Bernard Shaw

Professor Maureen B. Fitzmahan

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© Maureen B. Fitzmahan, 2002


Public International Law

ILAW 300 - Fall - 2002


IMPORTANT: This overhead has been provided because many students request overheads at the end of lectures. This overhead may not be complete. It is not meant to be. It is meant as a guide, only. WARNING: Do not depend on this overhead to give you the complete answers to questions which might appear on exams. Use it as a study guide only. Your preparations for exams should come from a thorough study of your notes, the readings and careful analysis on your part.

Introduction to International Law

Used - September 16, 2002

International law
A. 189 states
heterogeneous—military, political, cultural and ideological

B. The modern state
the nation-state - 14th century concept
· force = state monopoly, i.e state creates a ‘standing army’
· bureaucracy--engage in economic and social regulation
· law--create sophisticated system of legal institutions, principles
· legislative
· executive
· judicial
C. Law
1. domestic law—VERTICAL
· governmental bodies
· individuals
2. international law—HORIZONTAL
· legal regulation of international intercourse of states
· states are limited in number
· sovereign and equal
· in contrast to domestic law
· no supreme authority
· no centralized use of force
· limited power of 3 levels of law making
· Enforcement of Law - use of “self help”
· predominant sanction (compared to domestic law. When allowed? Exception to the rule--Self defense against assault, retake property taken, evict trespassers, terminate a contract)
· history
· when used
· one state commits an illegal act against another
· refuses to pay reparation OR appeal before international tribunal
· once—WAR!
· No longer legal
· Exceptions
· Self defense against armed attack
· Retorsion—lawful act to injure without physical attack
· Cut off economic aid (lawful cuz no obligation to grant aid)
· Reprisal—ordinarily unlawful act—made lawful by a priori act of 1st state
· Must be proportionate to original wrong
· E.g. A takes property from B’s citizens; B may now take A’s citizen’s property
· Disadvantage
· State imposing the measure may hurt self as much
· E.g. cut off trade with another
· USA reluctance to cut off trade with China
· Only effective if: injured state is more powerful and more determined than the wrongdoing state
· Therefore: effective if large group of states work against one offending state
· United Nations—UN Security Council—influenced by political considerations
· International organizations with specialized functions
· IMF (allowed to borrow gold, foreign currency from Fund)
· Council of Europe/ECHR—1st step to EU
· European Union—economic advantages in belonging
· WTO—most favored nation status

Is international law—law?
· Foreign ministers employ a large staff of legal advisers
· States conclude and implement bilateral and international treaties
· Increasing globalization—need for increased international cooperation
· Increased advances in natural sciences and technology
· Increasing global economic and political interdependence
· Communications
· International trade
· Economics and finance
· Environment, trans-boundary environmental damage
· Refugees and asylum seekers
· Trans-boundary criminal acts—money laundering, trafficking of women
· Modern national constitutions often refer to international law and the state’s obligations thereto—see Irish constitution
· Most states observe most obligations of international law most of the time.
· Author’s note:
· p. 6—“A horizontal system of law operates in a different manner from a centralized on and is based on principles of reciprocity and consensus rather than on command, obedience and enforcement.
· States accept international law—“they are useful to reduce complexity and uncertainty in international relations.

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Last Updated - 23-9-02