The Aim of Public International Law

Essay by pnarUniversity, Bachelor's May 2006

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The aim of international law is to monitor the behaviour between states since where there exists a community of states, the maintaining of law and order becomes essential. A state will, as a general rule, do its utmost to act within the confines of the framework of rules which make up international law. Any state disregarding these general principles of peaceful and cooperative cohabitation between states runs the risk of incurring the disapproval of the fellow states in the community. Such disapproval will hardly ever limit itself to a "tag" of bad reputation, but could even lead to severe consequences. Professor J.G. Starke defines international law as

* "that body of law which is composed for its greater part of the principles and rules of conduct which states feel themselves bound to observe, an therefore, do commonly observe in their relations with each other, ..."

Professor Starke also includes the rules governing international organisations: their functioning, their interrelation, and their relation with states and individuals.

To be included are certain rules relating to individuals and non-state entities whose rights or duties involve the international community. Indeed, although traditionally it was the state which was the subject of international law, nowadays, international organisations and, to a certain extent, the individual can hardly be ignored. The proliferation of international organisations dates back to the post-war period where there was the creation of international organisations dealing with various aspects of internal life. Once these organisations are given their own personality it is common for them to enter into relations with states themselves. They became so important that international law became concerned with their behaviour, and the law of international institutions became thus a specialised branch of the law.

As regards the position of the individual in international law, one will note that in...