This is an important issue and a number of commentators and critics have decried this loss of respect for international law. One commentator refers to the words of the politician and sociologist, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who said that, “…there is nothing quite to compare with the falling from the American mind of the idea of the law of nations” (Kinsley). He also stated that,
At the beginning of Gulf War II, we forgot… international law. We forgot international law once again. When the U.N. Security Council would not play ball, we declared that our own invasion of Iraq was justified as a sovereign act of long-term self-defense against potential weapons of mass destruction, by the human rights situation within Iraq,
Therefore, this is a cardinal area of international law that is in danger in the present age.
On the other hand, there are areas of international law that have been more successful and which may improve in the future. The nature of international communication and the common views held in most countries about the nature and importance of human rights has led to successful cooperation between countries in terms of various types of legal concerns. The judgment by British law on the immunity of Pinochet is one example. Pinochet, once President of Chile, was known for his repressive and inhumane regime. The British case against Pinochet was to make judicial history as it was the first time that a dictator who was known for human rights abuse had been arrested on the principle of universal jurisdiction. The principle of universal jurisdiction, “…allows national courts to try cases of the gravest crimes against humanity, even if these crimes are not committed in the national territory and even if they are committed by government leaders of other states” (Universal Jurisdiction). This principle is also related to the term and concept of Erga omnes, which refers to common rights owed to all, regardless of national or other boundaries.
In conclusion, the ethos and praxis of international law is one that is essential in our contemporary world.
As the world grows more complex and as the danger to peace and human equality intensifies due to new weapons or human rights abuses, so the need for a strong and well – supported international law and its application increases. In essence, there can only be international peace, “… when governments choose to abide by the rule of law instead of the rule of might…” (Learn about International Law and creating a more secure world). The intentions of international l law and the institutions that support it is to provide international norms and standards that are upheld legally and which can resolve conflict without the use of force or arms. Some of the key international institutions involved in the application of international law are the United Nations, Court of Justice, and the International Criminal Court. Furthermore, there are various other multi-lateral and bi-lateral treaties in place to uphold these laws.. These legal efforts “… play a key role in creating a more secure and stable international environment” (Learn about International Law and creating a more secure world).
The intentions of these institutions must be carried out, as it is the only way that the modern world can avoid conflict on a possibly disastrous scale
Horton, Scott. A Decent Respect: What does international law mean to us today
January 20, 2008. http://www.harpers.org/archive/2007/04/horton-20070428vgjt
Kinsley M. Today We Obey. Invoking international law — when it suits us.2003.
January 20, 2008 http://www.slate.com/id/2080777/
Koskenniemi M. The History of International Law Today. 2004. January 20, 2008 http://184.108.40.206/search?q=cache:JMyrQWZDLyYJ:www.helsinki.fi/eci/Publications/MHistory.pdf+International+law+today&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=3&gl=za
Krieger D. Building Global Peace in the Nuclear Age. 2006. January 21, 2008. http://www.wagingpeace.org/articles/2006/11/10_krieger_building.htm
Learn about International Law and creating a more secure world. January 21, 2008. http://www.wagingpeace.org/menu/issues/international-law/index.htm
Supranational. January 21, 2008.
Universal Jurisdiction. January 21, 2008. http://www.globalpolicy.org/intljustice/universal/univindex.htm