Historical origin
            International law is the term commonly used in referring to the rule and regulations that govern the conduct of independent nations in their relationship with one another. Mankind’s long march, from primitively to civilisation, the need for order and a regulated form of behaviour has remained vital. According to Malcolm Shew.
… law is that element which binds the members of the community together in their adherence to recognized values and standards…1

Law is a binding lament within members of society binding them together in their adherence to recognised values and standards of behaviour. International law has a similar character of regulating the conduct of participants in the international society. These participants however are not individual citizens but nation states and other actors duely recognised as having international personality. International law having international personality. International having international personality. International law differs from other legal systems in that it primarily concerns itself with states and other international bodies rather than private citizens.

The term international law can refer to a number of distinct legal disciplines these are.
1.         Public International law which govern the relationship between states and international entities either as an individual or as a group. It also regulates operations of international institutions. It involves the following specific legal fields such as the treaty law, laws of the sea, international criminal law and the international humanitarian law. Public international law may be universal, regional or ideological.
2.         Private international law also known as conflict of laws in which foreign elements intrude within domestic legal systems raising the question of which lgela jurisdiction may be applied in hearing or determining a case on one hand and the law concerning which jurisdiction may apply to the issues in the case.
3.         Supranational law or the law of supranational organisations which presently concerns regional agreements where special distinguishing quality is that law of nation states are held inapplicable with a supranational legal system. EU laws are good example of supranational law.
4.         Jus gentium – Latin for the laws of nations. This was originally the part of roman law which the roman empire applied to its dealings with foreigners especially provincial subjects. The jus gentium gradually became the common law of the roman empire and gained the reputation of universal application. The jus gentium was deemed to enshrine national principles which were considered not only applicable but commonly acceptable to all civilized nations. In later times, the Latin term came to refer to the natural or common law among nations considered as states within a larger human society especially governing the rules of peace and war, national boundaries, diplomatic exchanges and extradition which combines with jus inter gentes to make up public international law.
5.         Jus inter gentes – simply known as agreements among nations-jus inter gentes is the body of treaties, UN conventions and other international agreements. It was originally a Roman Law concept but later become a major part of international law.
6.         Pacta Sunt servanda – This is Latin word for “agreements must be kept”. It is a basic principle of civil law and of international law. The principle believes that agreements between parties are law and non-fulfilment of respective obligations is a breach of the pact. This is a general principle of correct behaviour which aims for efficacy of the whole system and requires that eventual disorder may be punished by law. Pact sun servanda is based on good faith. Every treaty in force is binding on the parties and this must be preferred by them in good faith. This entitles states to require that obligations be respected and to rely upon their being respected. To rely upon their being respected.
7.         Jus Cogens, also known as “compelling law’ or “strong law” is a principle of international law considered to be very fundamental. It is enshrined in Article 53 of the Vienna convention on the law of treaties. The rule of jus Cogens require certain code of behaviour form states in respect to certain norms and situations. Jus Cogens covers a list of such aims and international wrongful acts as war of aggression, war crimes, crimes against humanity piracy genocide, apartheid, slavery, torture pollution of the atmosphere, etc. JUS Cogens can override other sources of international law including even the charter of the United Nations.

            As earlier noted, international law is an approach to the maintenance of order at the international level. At the domestic level, law play a regulatory role and checks interaction between individuals, groups and corporate entities and the state itself. Law, whether domestic or international has a vital function which is to change a situation which is no longer acceptable to the society and usher in never and more acceptable rules of behaviour and conduct. Law delimits the powers of governments, organisations groups or individuals vis a vis other participants within the system. Law exists to create order because where there is no law the society lapses into lawlessness reminiscent of anarchical situations characterized by the survival of the fittest.
            At  the domestic level it is possible to have legal institutional structures whose duty it is to perform the functions of ensuring that societal laws are obeyed in every setup. At the international level, it does not appear quite so because of the complex nature of the international environment. Whereas everyone is subject to the law of the state at the domestic level, same cannot be said of the international system.
            International law is not oblivious of domestic law and vice versa. Each acts with respect to the other. The general rule of international law however is that a state cannot plead  a rule or a gap in its own domestic law as a defence to a claim based on international. States would be regarded as important factors in international law because it states do not exist, the question of international law would not arise. In domestic law, the individuals becomes the prime factor.
            From the congregation of analysis, it is important to note that domestic law will form time to time fail to reflect the correct rule of international law. This however, does not necessarily mean that the domestic laws of a state will be structured or allowed to break international law. More often than not the disparity between domestic law and international law simply means that the individuals state may be unable to exercise rights which international law entitles but does not require the individual state to exercise.
            In situations where domestic law is capable of resulting in a breach of international law, it is the application of the rule, and not its  were existence which normally constitutes the breach of international law. If however the enforcement of such a rule is undertaken in such a way that no breach of international occurs, then there would be no friction. American declaration in 1996 that it would penalise companies doing business with parish states typifies this. The contention became how far America could go in enforcing this rule beyond its national boundaries without the risk of breaking international law when it encroaches on the sovereign rights of other states. This position was vigorously resisted by France in the case of Iran and total oil in 1997.
            Obedience in any legal system, be it international or domestic is based on a combination of voluntary compliance and coercion. Voluntary compliance occurs when the subjects obey the law simply because they accepts its authenticity and legitimacy. They must also accepts its necessity for the reasonable conduct of society. Coercion on the other hand is the process of gaining compliance through other means-such means may involve threats of violence, punishment, imprisonment, economic sanctions, physical or military intimidation or other forms of punishment.

Over the years, there has been a lot of controversy among scholars of international polities over the legal character of international law. There has been a raging debate between those who argue that international law is not a true law and those who believe that it is. This debate involves two schools of thought – those known as  Austinians and the other called the Historicist.
1.         The Nastinian school represents the views of John Austin, an oxford scholar who contends that international law is not a true law but a more code of morality which states are expected to comply with. He argued that for a law to be regarded as a true law and for such law to have a binding effect, it must emulate from an authoritative and recognised source- a sovereign.
            The Austinians argue that law involves a superior inferior relationship for purposes of authenticity and credibility. The law emanates from a source which could be the Monarch, parliament or president and is passed down to the citizens who are duty bound to respect and comply with such laws. The Austinians school argued that there must be in existence the apparatus of state of enforce laws that are made by the super-ordinate body. At the domestic level, there is the police, the courts and the prison to check the incidence of infraction of the law and to punish offenders. They hold that  in the international environment, it is impracticable to arrest, put on trial or jail a state that goes against the provisions of the so-called international law. The Austinians further contend that international law would be violated with impurity since it does not operate within a context where it can be enforced. States are subjects of international law and since all states are equal, non can improve on the other or seek to bring an rand member to book.
            Furthermore, the Austinians argued that Jurisdiction at the domestic level is compulsory since no one state can unilaterally opt out of the jurisdiction of the law. At the domestic level, jurisdiction of the state has no exemption on the citizens whereas such compulsory jurisdiction is lacking at the international level.
            The Austinian declared that what is largely regarded as international law is merely a moral guide for states in their relationship with one another. They concluded that what is ordinarily another. They concluded that what is ordinarily called international law would better b e seen as “international morality” which states are at liberty to accept or reject as it pleases them in the pursuit of their national interest.

The historicist - on the other hand of this argument are those referred to as the historicist. This group look at international law from historical and evolutionary angle. The historicist criticised the ideas espoused by the Austinianss on ground of its ever simplification and for placing too much emphasis on the role of sanction as a linkage to every rule.
            The historists argue that international law is a true  law despite the short coming it has been faced with especially at its evolutionary years. They argue that international law should be accepted as true law because, like domestic law before it, it evolved from contentions and customes based on the accepted norms of the behaviour in the international environment. The maintain that law at the international level is just passing through the same trial process as domestic law did during its period of evolution. The hsitorists contend that no state emerged with a constitution or legal code at the same time but that while states came into existence their laws and constitution were given time to evolve, grow and mature to the level of effectiveness. They argue that the English common laws as well as the civil laws of the Romans Undernet various processes of evolution and maturity. In effect, the historists believe that if given the same level of patience and encouragement, international law will, sooner or later, attain the height that domestic laws of nations have attained in regulating the conduct and behaviour of states. The historists insist than even though there is no central government, police; prison or court systems at the international level, states do comply and observe the provisions of conventions and treaties which they are obliged. Such compliance is necessary because they realize the benefits desirable from doing so and the loss sustainable from not doing so. In the global environment the need to maintain a stable, sustaining and result-oriented international system has become a common goal for all humanity. 

Sources of international law have to do with the materials and processes out of which the rules and principles regulating the international system developed. This process has been long and complicated and have been shaped and conditioned by an array of both political and legal theories. The consensual new of international law demands that states must take into account its obligations to and agreement with other even in pursuit of her own goals and objectives in the open arena. This was further reflected in the statute of the permanent court of Justice (league 1920) and the international court of justice (1946).
            Public international law or international public law concerns the relationship between the entities or legal persons which are considered the subjects of legal persons which are considered the subjects of international law including sovereign nations the legal status of the Holy see international organisations especially inter governmental organisations such as the UN and in the same case, national liberation movements, the sources of modern international law may be summarized as follows:
1.         International customs or customary international law- international custom is a consistent behaviour  of states over a period of time which has been generally accepted and as such can be assumed that every civilized state would accept such general practice. Such consistent practices may also be accompanied by opinion juris (an opinion of law or necessity) this is the belief that an action was carried out because it was a legal obligation. Customs take a long time to evolve which makes the area of customary international law a bit problematic customs represent an important part of international law and over the years a lot of progress has been made in trying to bring some of those accepted norms which states how try to elevate to the status of treaties and international agreement.
2.         Treaties and Agreements: these are codification contained in conventional agreements which are generally referred to as treaties. Treaties are the most important source of international law. Treaties are agreements willingly and voluntarily entered into by states (2 or more) and which has binding effects. Treaties, when accepted and seen as workable can be embraced by a large number of states in the international community and this became accepted as  parts of international law.
3.         General Principles of Law Recognised by Civilised Nations: although this language sounds vague, it does have its relevance. Amongst all it allows external sources of law such as “morality” to come into effective consideration. The principle of “equity” that is what is considered fair when no legal standard exists also has same application under general principles. Iraq’s aggression against Kuwait in 1990 was a clear violation of this basic principle. This general principle also give evidence to the arguments of the natural lawyers. Those generally accepted principled of law was largely discovered by the Romans. Civilisation of nations can make it possible for judges to make use of general principles in the absence of evidentiary comments in trying international cases.
4.         Article 59 of the ICT. This article may not be seen or used as having binding effect on all states since its jurisdiction is not compulsory. Article 59 of the ICT however becomes binging when they relevant states or parties to a conflict agree to it states can agree to have arbitration panels look into a dispute and the decision of such panels can be seem to form part of the provisions of international law. Similarly, the ruling of the ICJ and other international tribunals and even domestic court, when they apply international law. Help shape the body of how that exist. Article 13 of the UN charter obligates the general assembly to initiate studies and make recommendations which encourages  progressive development of int law and its conditions.
5.         Judicial Decisions And Writings the teachings writings opinions and decisions of highly qualified jurists and internationally recognised legal personnel and publicist and the subsidiary means for the determination of the rules of law and precedents. Such reinsured experts such as Hugo Grotins, Alberico Gentili, Francisco Vitria, etc, do not make international lane they are merely recognised in respect to their research and the competence of their treaties, their resort to rational reasoning an sound judgement and their general ability to show clearly and concisely, what ought to be. The works of such renowned scholars are often a reference points by the courts in their deliberations these academic and expert legal opinions are sometimes referred to as “soft law”.
6.         Determinations of the Organs of International organisation: evidence of consensus or inter-practice can sometimes be derived from intergovernmental resolutions. The decisions of international organisations such as EC, NATO, OAS, ECOWAS, etc shape behaviour of their members and n a very large measure affect the behaviour of non-members. Their declarations could be understandably accepted as source of international law. The league of nation and the united nations working through their various organs established much of the basic foundations for the development mover of international law.
7.         International Conferences- Global conferences seminars and workshops are held from times to time to deliberate on issues affecting the international environment. From these conferences, ideas are harnessed, agreement reached and new codes of behaviour may be adopted. Diplomatic immunities and privileges all resulted from the works of international conferences. The most remarkable of these is the Vienna congress, 1961. the international civil Aviation conferences held in Chicago in 1994 established what has come to be generational industry.
8.         UN. Charter- the UN charter has added a lot of impetus to the development of international law, including advisory and non- binding standards such as the universal declaration of Human Rights. Several principles of international law have been established through international agreements. These include the heneva conventions on the conduct of war and under agreements on ILO, WHO, WTO, IMF, UNESCO, world intellectual property organisation the international telecommunications union, etc.
            The idea that laws can came from the united Nations General Assembly or any other international representative assembly is best with controversy in any case, members of the UN one duty bound to respect the decision of the general Assembly and the security council, given this obligation, it is possible to argue that these international bodies are quasi-legislative. The fact that their resolutions and mandates are often violated does not mean that these laws does not exist.
            Law in general terms is a product of society at both the domestic and international levels. Law is an instrument of politics and it reflects the configuration of socio political force often at play in the international level. As international evolves, it can be seen as a process of political evolution. The flexibility introduced into the concept of international law is also remarkable. The various legal system s in the world-traditional theocratic, western, Islamic, Roman, Oriental, etc. 
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