Select Page

International Law
Stetson University School of Law
Nagle, Luz Estella

Nagle_International Law_Spring 2009

Introduction to International Law and the Growing Role of International Law:

I.                   Major Issues in International Law that we will discuss:
A.    Sovereignty:
·   Legitimacy: by what right does a country exercise the exclusive right to control a government, a territory, or a group of people?
·   Recognition: does the authority exist in law and/or in fact?
B.     Refugees:
·   Human Rights: what are the rights of people who fear being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, and are unable to seek the protection of their country? What are their rights outside the country of their nationality?
C.     Weapons:
·   Arms control/arms trafficking
·   Disarmament: nuclear weapons, and weapons of mass destruction
D.    Immunities:
·   When should countries, international organizations, or individuals be free from legal liability for criminal acts?
·   Diplomatic Immunity
·   Sovereign Immunity
E.     Global Economies:
·   How do business practices/multinational corporations affect the global economy?
1.      Trade
2.      Taxes
3.      Labor
4.      Environment
·   OPEC and energy dependency
F.      Contracts/Investments (long-term risk analysis)
·   Political instability – when are nations/companies liable for contracts during periods of instability?
·   Expropriation: what are the nation’s rights in seizing private property?
G.    Security/Counter-terrorism 
·   Pre-emptive use of force: When is the pre-emptive use of force acceptable, if ever?
H.    Free Trade Agreements
·   What are the environmental implications of trade?
·   Agricultural dependency
1.      Immigration
2.      Labor
I.       Security and Non-proliferation
·   International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
·   International Criminal Court (ICC)
J.       Environment and Climate Change
·   Kyoto Treaty
K.    International Organizations
·   What are their rights?
·   How do they establish jurisdiction?
·   Analyze their effectiveness.

II.                How does the United States impact the development of international law
A.    Permanent member of the UN Security Council
B.     Recommendations to the International Monetary Fund
C.     Wealthy nation – foreign investment, multinational corporation

International Organizations and the United Nations (UN)

I.                   International Organizations: Elements
A.    Established by treaty (or charter) which serves as the “constitution”
B.     Composed of members that are states
C.     Regulated by international law
D.    Have a “international personality”

II.                Common Legal Issues of Int’l Orgs:
A.    Member Issues: under what conditions can states be admitted to, withdraw from, be expelled from the organization, or have privileges suspended?
B.     Voting Issues: when should voting be unanimous or majority? Should some members’ votes be weighted more than others should?
C.     Authority: what actions might be considered outside of the powers detailed in the charter?
D.    Immunity: when is the organization free from liability and lawsuits?
E.     Finances: how is the budget adopted? How do member states pay dues? What sanctions exist when members fail to pay dues?

III.             Historical background:
A.    The first int’l orgs were created in the late 19th century.
B.     Most started out as conferences among states such as the 1815 Congress of Vienna
C.     The UN and most regional organizations were created after WWI (1914) in order to prevent another large war from occurring.
D.    The Treaty of Versailles established the League of Nations.
1.      The US helped create the League but did not ratify the treaty, causing controversy.
E.     The League of Nations (1919) was the first general association of states concerned with social welfare issues, dispute settlement, development of int’l law, and the promotion of peace.
F.      The League was dissolved when the Assembly unanimously formed the UN.
G.    The UN was formulated through the Geneva Convention after the end of WWII.

IV.             League of Nations vs. the United Nations: why was the League replaced with the UN, and what makes the UN successful?
A.    The League failed to keep the peace after WWI
B.     League lacked military power – the UN uses member forces for military
C.     Both depend on its members’ contributions
D.    League members were he

f a conflict between the obligations of the members of the UN and their obligations under any other international agreement.

V.                UN Organs
A.    General Assembly, GA: (UN Charter Chapter IV, Articles 9-22)
1.      The main organ of the UN
2.      All member states have a right to vote and be represented
3.      May discuss any question within the scope of the UN Charter
B.     Security Council: (UN Charter Chapter V, Articles 23-32)
1.      Has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security
2.      Consists of 15 member states, 5 of them are permanent (China, France, Russia, UK, and US – the victors of WWII), and 10 alternating members elected for 2-year terms.
3.      Binding decisions (Article 42): The Security Council is the only UN organ that can call for enforcement of its decisions by military means.
C.    Economic and Social Council (Chapter X, Articles 61-72)
1.      Initiates studies, reports, and recommendations on economic, social, cultural, educational, etc. matters
2.      Not a decision making body
3.      54 members elected by the GA
D.    Secretary General and Secretariat: (Chapter XV, Articles 97-101)
1.      Chief administration office
2.      Brings information about security and peace to the SC