THE System of International Law



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THE System of International Law



International Law means principles, rules, and standards that govern nations and other participants in international affairs in their relations with one another. International law is the law of the international community. No single nation can create or modify international law. No statute of one nation or treaty between two nations can create global obligations. International law is not created, developed, or abolished by the demand of one country or a small group of countries. It exists as a result of the common consent and general acceptance of many nations. Most international law consists of long-standing customs, provisions agreed to in treaties, and generally accepted principles of law recognized by nations. Some international law is also created by the rulings of international courts and organizations.

The rules of international law are generally divided into laws of peace, of war, and of neutrality. Peace is considered the normal relationship between nations. The laws of peace define the rights and duties of nations at peace with one another. Each country has a right to existence, legal equality, jurisdiction over its territory, ownership of property, and diplomatic relations with other countries. Many of the laws of peace deal with recognizing countries as members of the family of nations and recognizing new governments in old nations. War is still recognized under traditional international law. Warring states are called belligerents. The laws of war provide definite restrictions on methods of warfare. Under international law, belligerents are forbidden to move troops across neutral territory. Neutral waters and ports must not be used for naval operations.

The purposes of international law include resolution of problems of a regional or global scope (such as environmental pollution or global warming), regulation of areas outside the control of any one nation (such as outer space or the high seas), and adoption of common rules for multinational activities (such as air transport or postal service). International law also aims to maintain peaceful international relations when possible and resolve international tensions peacefully when they develop, to prevent needless suffering during wars, and to improve the human condition during peacetime.

Enforcement of international law is often difficult because nations are sovereign powers that may put their own interests ahead of those of the international community. Enforcement may be effectively achieved through the actions of individual nations, agencies of international organizations such as the United Nations (UN), and international courts. The United Nations Security Council can authorize economic sanctions, diplomatic sanctions, or military force to maintain or restore international peace and security.

International law began as a system governing the relations among sovereign states, and states have always been the primary legal entities affected by international law. As the global system has become more complex, however, international law has come to recognize and regulate international organizations, businesses, nonprofit entities, and individuals. The emergence of international human rights law and, more recently, international criminal law reflects the fact that individuals today are direct subjects of international law in certain respects.

 

Active vocabulary

law ( international~)n adoption n

principle n prevent v

rule n maintain v

custom n recognize v

provision n enforcement n

ruling n resolve v

regulation n treaty n

statute n sovereign adj

create v

 

II. COMPREHENSION

1. A. Give the definitions for the following terms and expressions or explain in other words:

1. international law;

2. long-standing customs;

3. enforcement of international law;

4. sovereign state;

5. diplomatic relations.

B. Answer the following questions using the information from the text:

1. What is the definition of international law?

2. What is international law aimed at?

3. How is international law implemented?

4. What are the subjects of international law?

5. What is the division of the rules of international law?

 

2. Complete the following sentences according to the information from the text:

1. International law is the law …

2. Some international law is also created by …

3. International law also aims …

4. Enforcement may be effectively achieved through …

5. International law began as a system …

6. The rules of international law are generally divided into laws …

7. The emergence of international human rights law and, more recently, international criminal law reflects the fact that individuals today …

8. Under international law, belligerents are forbidden …

 

3. Match the following legal terms with their definitions:

1. custom a) having undisputed right to make decisions and act accordingly
2. rule b) 1. a generally accepted practice or habit, convention; 2. long – established practice having the force of law
3. sovereign c) a binding legal agreement or a moral responsibility
4. organization d) an association or society of people working together to some end
5. obligation e) an accepted method of behaviour or procedure

 

III. VOCABULARY STUDY

Find in the text and decide from the context what the word could mean, then choose the appropriate definition.

Law

1. a custom or practice recognized as binding by a community, esp. as a result of having been so decreed by the governing authority

2. an aspect of such customs or practices or a body of customs or practices applicable to a specific group, community

Statute

1. a law passed by a legislative body and formally placed on record in a written or printed form

2. the written or printed record of the law

3. an ordinance of some chartered body, corporation.

Ruling

1. an authoritative decision

2. the act of someone who rules

Principle

1.a law of nature as formulated and accepted by the mind

2. the acceptance of moral law as a guide to behavior

3. a rule by which a person chooses to govern his conduct, often forming part of a code

4. an essential truth upon which other truths are based

2. Choose the right preposition in brackets according to the contents of the sentences( after, of, before, for, from, in ).

 

· 1. Many of the customs of the international relations have existed… hundreds of years. … example, the ancient Greeks protected foreign ambassadors …mistreatment, even in wartime. For about 2000 years, nations have given ambassadors similar protection.

· 2. Traditional international law developed various doctrines and institutions that were designed to protect different groups … human beings: slaves, minorities, certain native populations, foreign nationals, victims of very massive violations.

3. … the period of Rome’s dominance of the ancient world, there was emerged rules governing the relations between Rome and the various nations or peoples with which it had contact.

· 4. Treaties, the immunities of ambassadors, and certain laws are to be found many centuries … the dawn of Christianity, in ancient Egypt and India.

· 5. The modern system of international law is a product … only the last four hundred years.

6. … a legislative body passes a law for a nation or a state, police enforce the laws, and people who break them are tried in courts.

Substitute the words in italics with the words from the text.

1. The aims of international law include resolution of problems of a regional or global scope.

2. International law consists of long-standing customs, provisions agreed to in different covenants.

3. Enforcement of international law is often difficult because nations are independent powers.

4. International law is not founded, developed, or abolished by the demand of one country or a small group of countries.

5. No statute of one nation or treaty between two nations can create global commitments .

6. Some international law is also created by the rulings of international tribunals and organizations.

Write as many legal expressions with the word “international” as you can and make up sentences of your own with those expressions.



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