Origin of International Law

Topics: Law, United Nations, International law Pages: 18 (5349 words) Published: January 27, 2011

Man is a social animal, in the past it has been living in caves, as the time passed man gradually became civilized and started living in communities. In past there were no laws and rules to be followed by the human being. In the long march of mankind from the cave to the computer a central role has always been played by the idea of law- the idea that order is necessary and chaos inimical to a just and stable existence. Every society has a framework of principles to develop. Law is element which binds the members of community together. Law consists of a series of rules regulating behavior and reflecting to some extent the ideas and preoccupations of the society within which it functions. Every society is required to have relations with other societies, and in order to regulate the relations between the states there is required a system of law. And so it is with what is termed international law, with the important difference that the principal subjects of international law are nation-states and not the individual citizens. There are many contrasts between the law within a country (municipal law) and the law that operates outside and between states, international organizations and, in certain cases, individuals. International law itself is divided into conflict of laws (or private international laws) and public international law (termed international law).1 The former deals with cases in which foreign elements obtrude, raising questions as to application of foreign law or role of foreign courts.2 Public international law covers relations between states in all their myriad forms, from war to satellites, and regulates the operations of many international institutions. It may be universal or general, or regional. The rules of international law are different from international comity, or practices such as saluting the flags of other nation. It must also be distinguished from international morality though they meet at some points. DEFINITION:

International law has been defined by many jurists and experts, but it has no single definition. Professor Oppenheim has defined international law in following words:- “Law of Nations or International Law is the name of body of customary and treaty rules which are considered legally binding by civilized nations in their intercourse with each others.” 3 According to Brierly, Law of Nations or International Law may be defined as:- “A body of rules and principles of action which are binding upon civilized states in their relations with each other.” 4 According to Kelson:-

“International Law or the Law of Nations is the name of body of rules which—according to the usual definition—regulates the conduct of States in their inter course with one another” 5 All the definitions are subject to severe criticism due to which no single definition has been propounded.

In the view of European Scholars, modern International Law is determined by the modern European system. According to Oppenheim , International Law is “essentially a product of Christian civilization, and began gradually to grow from the second half of the middle ages.”6 This view is subject to criticism because there are several such principles and rules of International Law as existed in their developed form in the ancient period. Some of them are as such as existed in their developed form in the ancient India. In one of his recent articles, Sri S. S. Dhavan has rightly expressed the view that the view of Oppenheim and other Western jurists that international law owes its birth to the modern European system is not correct. In his view International Law was in the developed state in the Ramayana and Mahabhart period. He has cited the example of International Law relating to Diplomatic Agents. Thus the birth of International Law can be traced back to ancient times. However it can’t be denied that the words ‘International Law’ were used for the first time by...
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