Institution of Learning:
The Role of an Individual in International Law
At a glance, one may assume that individuals do not play a significant role in international law. International law may seem too broad to encompass individuals in any society. This is because that international law has no jurisdiction. It applies regardless of the local jurisdiction sometimes even overriding local legislation. Courts may use international law to pass judgement on tricky cases. However, individuals play a significant role in international law. International law focuses mainly on the individual. It ensures that individuals get justice mostly in situations when the national legislation does not guarantee justice of the individual. International law ensures that national legislation guarantees the protection of human rights of individuals. Focus of international law on the individual is similar to focus on the individual by national legislation. However, international law ensures that it respects the sovereignty of states. International law should not engage in international affairs of nations to the agenda of a few countries. To achieve this international law treats all nations with equality. The international community only intervenes in cases where there is widespread oppression of the citizens of a nation by the state. There are various statutes in international law that protect human rights and ensure peaceful resolution of disputes. The Rome Statute, which led to the formation of the International Criminal Court (ICC), is one of the statutes of international law. Sadly, various powerful nations use international law and the excuse of human rights and constitutionalism, to further their own agenda. Before discussing the role of an individual in international law, it is critical to discuss the history of international law, in order to form a clear perception of the law. Despite the fact that various people view international law as infringing into the sovereignty of a nation, it critical to note that there is an intricate linkage between the history of the international law and sovereignty of nations. Nations fought in order to obtain sovereignty. Therefore, international law only applies to sovereign states. Upon obtaining sovereignty, nations were free to act without having any external interference. Indeed, outside interference may make nations resort to war to restore their sovereignty. The two world wars, which brought untold global damage to people and nations, were the factors that enforced sovereignty of various nations. After the Second World War, countries created cooperation mechanisms to guarantee peace and prevent similar atrocities from occurring in the future. Cooperation led to the formation of the Security Council and the United Nations. The Security Council prohibits nations from using excessive force in self-defence when other nations threaten their sovereignty. The Security Council does not just prohibit the use of excessive force against external forces; it also prohibits states from using excessive force on their own citizens. In the contemporary world, all nations have a shared sense of responsibility to the concerns of humanity and the environment. Cooperation between nations and a sense of responsibility has led to the creation of the international community, which oversees the global affairs for the good of humanity and the environment. The principal aim of sovereign states is to protect the right of its citizens. Protection of the rights of its citizens and the sovereignty of a nation may mean nations going to war if necessary. Therefore, nations granted their citizens various rights. However, in giving its citizens rights, nations created a sense of segregation by including others in the rights that citizens are entitled to and leaving others. This created feelings of competition between parties that state grant rights and...