Tag Archive for treaties

The Key Differences between First and Second Generation Human Rights

(C) Kapok Tree Diplomacy. Mar 2011. All rights reserved. Jeff Dwiggins.
4,880 words. 17 pages double-spaced. 13 references.  {Formerly} PAID CONTENT


UNDHRThe recognition of individual human rights under international law took on a “formal and authoritative expression” following the end of World War II when the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948 (Steiner, Alston & Goodman (SAG) 134). The UNDHR was designed to “take the form of a declaration – that is, a recommendation by the General Assembly to Member States that would exert a moral and political influence on states rather than constitute a legally binding document” (SAG 135).

Following approval of the UDHR, the UN Commission, General Assembly and Third Committee began work on a more “detailed and comprehensive” expression of human rights that emerged in the form of “two principal treaties – The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)” which were both approved in 1966 and both entered into force in 1976 through the required number of ratifications (SAG 136). The ICCPR and ICESCR were designed to be more legally binding than the UDHR. Collectively, these three documents are often referred to as the ‘International Bill of Human Rights’ (SAG 133).  Read more

Is International Law Genuine ‘Law’?

(C) Kapok Tree Diplomacy. 2011. All rights reserved. Jeff Dwiggins. FREE CONTENT

In answering this question, I must first appeal to the American Law Institute’s “Restatement of the Law, Third, Foreign Relations Law of the United States.” In Section 101 it defines international law as follows: “international law consists of rules and principles of general application dealing with the conduct of states and of international organizations and with their relations inter se, as well as with some of their relations with persons, whether natural or juridical.”

Section 102 of this document refers to the sources as “customary law,” “international agreement,” and “derivation from general principles common to the major legal systems of the world.” Section 103 refers to the evidence of international law being “judgments and opinions of international judicial and arbitral tribunals;” “judgments and opinions of national judicial tribunals;” “the writings of scholars;” and “pronouncements by states that undertake to state a rule of international law, when such pronouncements are not seriously challenged by other states.”

Thus, to answer the question of whether international law is law, one must look at its rules and principles inherent in its definition, its sources, and its evidence to make a determination as to its strength, validity, coherence and legitimacy. I would submit that the whole point of law is to bring about justice as a vehicle for truth and liberty. Does international law result in justice? Do its sources and evidences comport with truth and equality? Read more

The Efficacy of the Modern Institution of International Law

“The Efficacy of the Modern Institution of International Law ” by Kapok Tree Diplomacy



International laDoha Roundw has evolved into a growing and complex body of rules and norms that states consent to based upon their concrete interests in a peaceful, prosperous and stable society. While international law differs and often competes substantively from municipal law, international law plays a predominantly positive role in allowing nations to benefit from the binding obligations derived from its sources. This essay will cover a brief history and definition of international law in Section One to include its sources and evidences followed by a comparison of international law with municipal law in Section Two with an emphasis on treaties.  The paper will conclude with some observations on how well the framework of international law actually works.

Section One – A Brief History and Definition of International Law

HistoryThe modern institution of international law has its historical roots in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries with the evolution of the nation state in Europe.  Werner Levi notes, “The feudalistic entities with their relatively uncertain borders gave way to states based upon sharply defined territory” (qtd. in Dunoff, Ratner, & Wippman 5).  As states emerged, the need to communicate and coordinate according to definitive norms and principles also emerged as well as the need to delineate authoritative boundaries and interpret binding obligations.

The authority to rule over these sovereign territories was originally understood as a “divine right” proceeding from God or natural law, “a set of divinely ordained principles of state conduct, accessible to all endowed with right reason” (Reus-Smit 282).  Through influential philosophers like Hugo Grotius and Alberico Gentili, the concept of “positive law,” created by humans and practiced by states, began to take its place alongside and even supplant natural law as the primary basis for international law (Dunoff, Ratner, & Wippman 6). Read more

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