You are on page 1of 10

Evolution of International Law

Beginnings
There was little scope for an international law in the period of ancient and medieval empires, and its modern beginnings coincide, therefore, with the rise of national states after the Middle Ages. Rules of maritime intercourse and rules respecting diplomatic agents (see diplomatic service) soon came into existence. At the beginning of the 17th cent., the great multitude of small independent states, which were finding international lawlessness intolerable, prepared the way for the favorable reception given to the De jure belli ac pacis [concerning the law of war and peace] (1625) of Hugo Grotius, the first comprehensive formulation of international law. Though not formally accepted by any nation, his opinions and observations were afterward regularly consulted, and they often served as a basis for reaching agreement in international disputes. The most significant principle he enunciated was the notion of sovereignty and legal equality of all states. Other important writers on international law were Cornelius van Bynkershoek, Georg F. von Martens, Christian von Wolff, and Emerich Vattel.

Development to World War I


The growth of international law came largely through treaties concluded among states accepted as members of the family of nations, which first included the states of Western Europe, then the states of the New World, and, finally, the states of Asia and other parts of the world. The United States contributed much to the laws of neutrality and aided in securing recognition of the doctrine of freedom of the seas (see seas, freedom of the). The provisions of international law were ignored in the Napoleonic period, but the Congress of Vienna (see Vienna, Congress of) reestablished and added much, particularly in respect to international rivers and the classification and treatment of diplomatic agents. The Declaration of Paris (see Paris, Declaration of) abolished privateering, drew up rules of contraband, and stipulated rules of blockade. The Geneva Convention (1864) provided for more humane treatment of the wounded. The last quarter of the 19th cent. saw many international conventions concerning prisoners of war, communication, collision and salvage at sea, protection of migrating bird and sea life, and suppression of prostitution. Resort to arbitration of disputes became more frequent. The lawmaking conventions of the Hague Conferences represent the chief development of international law before World War I. The Declaration of London (see London, Declaration of) contained a convention of prize law, which, although not ratified, is usually followed. At the Pan-American Congresses, many lawmaking agreements affecting the Western Hemisphere have been signed.

Effect of the World Wars


In World War I, no strong nations remained on the sidelines to give effective backing to international law, and the concept of third party arbitration was again endangered; many of the standing provisions of international law were violated. New modes of warfare presented new problems in the laws of war, but attempts after the war to effect disarmament and to prohibit certain types of weapons (see war, laws of) failed, as the outbreak and course of World War II showed. The end of hostilities in 1945 saw the world again faced with grave international problems, including rectification of boundaries, care of refugees, and administration of the territory of the defeated enemy (see trusteeship, territorial). The inadequacy of the League of Nations and of such idealistic renunciations of war as the Kellogg-Briand Pact led to the formation of the United Nations as a body capable of compelling obedience to international law and maintaining peace. After World War II, a notable advance in international law was the definition and punishment of war crimes. Attempts at a general codification of international law, however, proceeded slowly under the International Law Commission established in 1947 by the United Nations.

Recent Developments
The nuclear age and the space age have led to new developments in international law. The basis of space law was developed in the 1960s under United Nations auspices. Treaties have been signed mandating the internationalization of outer space (1967) and other celestial bodies (1979). The 1963 limited test ban treaty (see disarmament, nuclear) prohibited nuclear tests in the atmosphere, in outer space, and underwater. The nuclear nonproliferation treaty (1968) attempted to limit the spread of nuclear weapons. The agreements of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, signed by the United States and the USSR in 1972, limited defensive and offensive weapon systems. This was first of many

international arms treaties signed between the two nations until the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Other treaties have covered the internationalization of Antarctica (1959), narcotic interdiction (1961), satellite communications (1963), and terrorism (1973). The Law of the Sea (1983) clarified the status of territorial waters and the exploitation of the seabed. Environmental issues have led to a number of international treaties, including agreements covering fisheries (1958), endangered species (1973), global warming and biodiversity (1992). Since the signing of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1947, there have been numerous international trade agreements. The European Union (prior to 1993, the European Community) has made moves toward the establishment of a regional legal system; in 1988 a Court of First Instance was established to serve as a court of original jurisdiction on certain economic matters. The establishment of the International Criminal Court (2002), with jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity, and related matters, marked a major step forward in international law despite the United States' repudiation of the treaty under President George W. Bush.

Read more: international law: Evolution of International Law Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/society/A0858870.html#ixzz1yUuPaSAQ

Global Educator Training _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________ CONFLICT AND PROTECTION Evolution of International Law PERIOD World War I and After 1914 - 38 World War II And After 1939 - 50

NATURE OF CONFLICT AND INTERNATIONAL POLITICS Use of poison gas Trench warfare Aerial bombing Genocide (Armenians) 2 million PoWs Technological advancements in weaponry widespread poverty & disease after WWI 90% military casualties Genocide / holocaust Mass deportations Carpet bombing of cities Even more destructive weaponry Significant rise in civilian casualties, now 1:1 with military Beginning of East vs. West tensions INFLUENCE ON INTERNATIONAL LAW & POLITICS League of Nations formed and failed Various international agreements and treaties Hague Agreement to confine aerial bombing to military targets Geneva Protocols against use of poisonous gas (failed) initiative to prosecute Heads of State (Germany,

Turkey) for war crimes Third Geneva Convention to protect Prisoners of War Red Cross initiates family tracing & prison visit services Agreement on rules of submarine warfare Federation of Red Cross/Crescent Societies formed to provide health and social welfare services during peacetime. War Crimes Tribunals at Nuremberg and Tokyo (Victors Justice) Nuremberg Charter recognized as customary international law Genocide Convention Citizens in Germany and Italy charged by own government with domestic crimes related to war United Nations formed Universal Declaration on Human Rights European Convention on Human Rights Modern Geneva Conventions (now including civilians) Formation of NATO and Warsaw PactGlobal Educator Training _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________ CONFLICT AND PROTECTION PERIOD Cold War 1951 - 90 NATURE OF CONFLICT AND INTERNATIONAL POLITICS Two competing superpowers

o Competing ideologies o Proxy wars o NATO vs. Warsaw Pact o Arms Race (nuclear, conventional) Widespread use of ever increasingly deadly weapons (including high tech guidance systems, landmines) plus some chemical and bacteriological weapons Decolonization o Wars of national liberation o Dividing up of world Non-international conflict becomes increasingly the norm State sovereignty reigns supreme Many repressive governments Widespread use of torture Vietnam becomes first televised war Civilians are now 90% of casualties Genocide in Uganda, Nigeria and Cambodia, to name a few INFLUENCE ON INTERNATIONAL LAW & POLITICS Human Rights Law - Regional instruments to promote/protect HR

- Twin Covenants (Civil & Political Rights, Economic, Cultural and Social) - Convention on Elimination of Racial Discrimination - Convention on Return of Cultural Property - Convention Against Taking of Hostages - Convention to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women - Convention Against Torture - Convention on the Rights of the Child Humanitarian Law - Additional Protocols to Geneva Conventions to include non-international conflict and stronger protection for civilians - Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide - Hague Convention to protect cultural property - Convention prohibiting bacteriological/toxic weapons - Convention on certain conventional weapons deemed to be excessively injurious and indiscriminate (didnt cover landmines) - Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) Refugee Convention Various treaties to limit nuclear weapons UN Peacekeeping begins Dramatic increase in civil society (NGOs) dedicated to

development and promotion of human rights Culture of immunity / impunity develops in relation to humanitarian law and human rights law abusesGlobal Educator Training _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________ CONFLICT AND PROTECTION PERIOD PostCold War 1991 - now NATURE OF CONFLICT AND INTERNATIONAL POLITICS Break up of USSR and many former communist countries US emerges as only superpower Rise of ethnic / nationalistic conflict in former USSR and Yugoslavia Globalization of economy and communications Widespread use of non-professional soldiers (mercenaries, conscripts) More children involved as child soldiers; and affected, even targeted, as innocent victims Genocide in Rwanda and Former Yugoslavia, with little or no intervention by international

community Continued 90% civilian casualty rate Extensive arms trade, esp. small arms Further development of precision guided weapons (smart bombs) Chemical weapons used Fear of biological and chemical weapons proliferation End of apartheid regime in South Africa International military intervention in Kosovo and Iraq September 11 th terrorist attacks in US The war on terrorism begins with international action in Afghanistan

INFLUENCE ON INTERNATIONAL LAW & POLITICS Culture of immunity/impunity persists Humanitarian Law - Convention on the Use & Destruction of Chemical Weapons - Hague Tribunal for War Crimes in Former Yugoslavia - Rwanda Tribunal for War Crimes

- Protocol relating to blinding laser weapons - Ottawa Treaty to ban anti-personnel mines - Rome Statute (1998) ratified in 2002, creating International Criminal Court (ICC) on July 1 but significant issues and challenges remain - Focus on War-Affected Children (esp. child soldiers) - Milosevic on trial for war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity - Belgium convicts own citizens of Rwanda war crimes - Possibility of war crimes tribunal / truth and reconciliation commission in Sierra Leone Human Rights Law - Optional Protocol to Child Rights Convention (CRC) concerning age of military recruitment US refuses to sign on to many international treaties General Pinochet from Chile arrested in Britain Some significant nuclear disarmament Weapons inspections in Iraq Human security rises on the international agenda, challenging the supremacy of state sovereignty Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa Culture of accountability begins to emerge Less distinction between humanitarian and human rights law Sharp increase in international peacekeeping missions US declares detainees captured in Afghanistan and held in

Cuba to be unlawful combatants