UN and International Legal Systems

Introduction

The international legal system is the mechanism that regulates the nature and the form of international relations among the stakeholders in the international arena. Due to increased number of participants in the international relations, the rules governing these relations are varied and come from different sources. Therefore, there is need for understanding the processes involved in the law formation and hence determine the approaches to the adjudication and reinforcement of the laws. This paper therefore seeks to determine the reliability and effectiveness of these methods together with their limitations and accomplishments.

International legal systems

The international legal system is the set of rules and regulations that govern relations in the international platform. This system functions to control and direct the associations between the different actors in the international relations; these actions are controlled by the international law (McWhinney, 1979, p.1).

The international law as opposed to the municipal law deals with the actions of the nation states, organizations that function on an international scope and in some given specific cases, it deals with individuals. There is a private and a public section of the international law. The private section deals with the areas where the different laws involved conflict or contradict each other. The public section is mandated with watching over the relationships between countries from the most humane like trade and giving aid to the other end which may include warfare (Shaw, 2003, p.2).

International rules may be applied to all the nations of the world or may be specific to certain areas or ideas. The universal nature of the international law applies equally to all the states and may include some of the international issues affecting all the people in the world. These include such issues as health, food, security and even environmental conservation. The regional rules include the issues specific to a given geographical area or which joins a certain group of people as a result of similar ideologies (Macdonald and Johnston, 1989).

International law making process

The making of international laws is a highly involving process because several parties affected by the laws have to come to an agreement on how best to deal with the issues at hand. The influences on the processes of making these laws depend on a number of factors which include the nature of the laws that need to be passed, scope of their authority and the need for their need to represent all the stakeholders. The arms involved in the law making process in the United Nations are the general assembly and the Security Council. The united nation through the international court of justice has therefore given the following as the source of the international laws (Macdonald and Johnston, 1989, p.1).

Sources of international law

The international court of justice, which is the main judicial arm of the UN, has limitations on how it administers its duties as it is limited by the way its jurisdiction is determined. The court can only act when the only the countries that recognize it are involved. This means that countries that do not accept the international court as their international arbitrator are therefore not under its authority (Macdonald and Johnston, 1989, p.3).

The court also lacks the power to act on matters that involve other entities other than the states meaning that the court is only limited states as its only clients. This therefore removes from this court’s reach the activities by the individuals and other entities such as organizations (Sahl, 2007).

The international court of justice is also limited in terms of jurisdiction on the matters that have a domestic law overseeing them and not the international law. This means that the court does not interfere with matters that are considered domestic but is more involved in the international arena (Legal studies, N.d).

In the customary law in the international arena, the rules and guidelines should be seen as obligations by the nation states so that the laws they stand for can be legal in the international scope. This is where the countries fully see the observance of the rules as a duty they must perform. This completely eliminates the countries option to walk away from the law or to use it on ad hoc basis (Sahl, 2007).

There are wide differences between the actors in the international arena. This makes it difficult for the law makers to find a common behavior among the nations which may qualify as a customary law. This makes this process almost impossible in the modern world due to the heightened rates of changes and this makes it hard to find consistent behaviors (Sahl, 2007).

Laws can also come from conventions and /or treaties. These are the agreements that are formed between countries and they offer rules that are recognized by the member states. These treaties may have adherents who are not their members

Lastly, international laws can originate from the codes that are associated with the formation of laws. This means that an international law may be formed on the basis of what is universally regarded to as the law. On the international scope, the United Nations is recognized as having the supreme power in matters concerning international law hence it has preference over all the other agreements. This is contained in the united nation’s charter (Sahl, 2007).

Effectiveness and reliability of the international law making process

Since the United Nations is the supreme organization in terms of the international law, it acts to give the other organizations the guidelines to follow when making the laws so that they can ensure that the rules do not conflict each other. The UN also has some rules that the member states are supposed to integrate into their constitution. These are the fundamental rules that deal with the welfare of the human beings and may include but are not limited to the fundamental human rights (Reilly, 2010).

The making of the universal international law is time consuming and sometimes very hard especially when the parties involved in their making do not agree with each other on some components of the law. This may lead to delayed negotiation processes as each stake holder states and stands by their views which may be contradictory and varied.

It is impossible to come up with the laws that will have everybody’s interests at e heart in the international scope due to the differences portrayed by the different communities. This is in form of religious affiliations, political philosophy, cultural inclinations and the differences in the world views exhibited by these members (Legal studies, N.d).

Law adjudication

Adjudication is a process involving decision making by a person who is not part of the argument but has the power to resolve the issues in contention. This is done through the use of punishments or rewards. The most common form of adjudication is witnessed in the court systems but may also occur through arbitration or through hearings conducted in the private (Conflict Research Consortium Staff, 2010).

Arbitration is a process where the parties in conflict involve a third party who listens to the arguments of these parties and reviews the evidence he is given to come up with a judgment. The parties involved are bound to accept the judgment even if it is against its wishes. The parties involved are the ones who decide if arbitration can really solve the problem hence use it. The rules of arbitration can be set by the parties or they can agree to use the existing ones (Leb, 2003).

In the international arena the international court of justice is the main international court. It is however limited in scope by the way its functions are defined. The court lacks the power to act on matters that involve other entities other than the states meaning that the court is only limited states as its only clients. This therefore removes from this court’s reach the activities by the individuals and other entities such as organizations (Watts, 1999, p. 5).

The international court of justice is also limited in terms of jurisdiction on the matters that have a domestic law overseeing them and not the international law. This means that the court does not interfere with matters that are considered domestic but is more involved in the international arena (Boyle, 1985, p.102).

Internationally, there is also the international criminal court that is used to seek justice for the crimes committed by individuals to either another individual or a group of individuals. This court is based in Hague and has in the past prosecuted a number of high ranking government officials accused of various atrocities which include crimes against humanity (Conflict Research Consortium Staff, 2010).

This court also does not have jurisdiction over people who have not consented to their authority. This means that the people who do not recognize it as an adjudicator of international relations are not bound by its law (Dugar, 2006, p.455).

The problem with the international courts is the lack of understanding of the problem by the decision makers especially if the plaintiffs are far removed from the world activities. The little information the adjudicators have is what is then generalized to create the whole picture. These generalizations may in effect not capture the real picture on the ground (Spangler, 2003).

These courts take a long time to come up with the judgments as there is always a backlog of cases to be investigated by the prosecutors, the result of which is delayed justice or no justice at all. Due to the delays, some important evidence may disappear and this may have a major implication on the outcome of the cases (Spangler, 2003, Dugar, 2006).

The courts decision is enforceable and binding and this makes them easier to accept and implement as they are supported by the law especially when the parties involved agree on and accept the terms of the court together with its authority (Spangler, 2003).

Mediation is also used in the adjudication of these international issues. This is where the parties in conflict agree to negotiate and come up with a viable solution to their problems. There can be a mediator who regulates the way the talks go on. Mediation has been applied in the resolution of conflicts between states or between organs in the state. This was used in Kenya to bring together the two principals hence end the after election violence (Oddy, 2010).

International law enforcement

This is a process through which the subjects of the law are persuaded and compelled to follow these laws. These subjects may refrain from recognizing the laws that are detrimental to their missions and visions hence these nations and organizations may turn to using these laws on ad hoc basis (United Nations, N.d).

The power of the laws is dependent on how they are regarded by the subjects and their ability to be enforced. In the international arena, the rewards and punishments are they main enforcers of the laws. The United Nations has the Security Council which is sometimes used especially when a military action is to be taken against a given entity (United Nations, N.d).

The UN has a military faction that is also used in the organizations military actions. Sanctions are also an enforcement strategy used by the UN and other international bodies to make other nations and organizations submit to the international standards. These sanctions may be economical or political and may be applied fully or may be used to issue limitations in form of quotas (United Nations, N.d).

The enforcement methods have sometimes been used by the powerful nations to further their personal agendas whereby they may victimize given states. The international law has sometimes been misused or disregarded by the states that are members of it and this has acted to diminish their power over their members. The United States for example bypassed the United Nations when it made decisions to invade other nations in the pretext of fighting terrorism (United Nations, N.d).

Conclusion

The international legal systems are the set of rules and regulations that govern relations in the international platform. International rules may be applied to all the nations of the world or may be specific to certain areas or ideas. The sources of the international law are determined by the mechanics that define the international relations

The United Nations acts as the main law giver in the international system because it has more accepted enforcement methods and it is more accepted by the members of the world as a source of law and order.

Rules on the international scope therefore act as guidelines on what needs to be done in most instances except in the cases when extreme atrocities have been committed. This forces the international community to take a corrective stand and this includes the imposition of restrictions on these countries.

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