Also known as public international law and law of nations, international law refers to the set of rules, norms, and standards that are accepted by different nations.
It establishes the standards and guidelines on different domains, including diplomacy, trade, war, and human rights. These laws have been established so that there will be a stable, consistent, and organized relations among nations all over the world.
International law is a system formed through treaties and agreements entered into and made by nations. Through these treaties and agreements, they build a common rule for interacting with other nations, treating citizens of other nations on their soil, and in dealing with the businesses of other countries.
The most important function of international law is keeping peace among nations. When previous wars happened, almost all the countries in the world have suffered immeasurable damages, both in resources and their population. To be able to keep this from happening again, agreements should be made among nations to keep the peace. These agreements and treaties are the most important sources of the laws.
Another important factor to consider is the codification of customary practices. For example, the laws of war that have been codified in the Hague Conventions of 1899 ad 1907, the Geneva Convention, and in other treaties are followed by all member nations.
Third, there are some legal principles in other countries that can be added to the corpus of international law. For example, a member state may have laws concerning the practice of child labour. These laws can be adapted and refined so it suits all members and can be followed. Born out of such laws from different states is what is now known as Children’s Rights.
Finally, law scholars from different countries come together to find resolutions or craft laws that can solve technical issues. These laws are particularly helpful in keeping conflicts to a minimum as they are often accepted by political leaders. An example would be the Laws of the Sea, where member-states that violate are tried in the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.
International law should be viewed differently from state-based legal systems, the latter being observed in the applicable countries, while the former covers its member states. It is good to view international law as an agreement that operates through consent as the sovereign states accept and follow them.
There are courts like the International Court of Justice that tries states in conflict over different issues. With a court made up of 15 judges who serve for nine-year terms, the countries air out their cases and resolve the issues through diplomatic means.