In this course, you will learn fundamental principles of international law and examine the historical development of these laws. The nature of international law differs in many respects from local, state, and federal law. International laws are formed by either customary international norms or by treaty or multilateral agreements by organizations like the United Nations. Within the community of nations, regional alliances such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) may also enter into agreements for collective security that have the force of law.The body of international law today includes treaties and conventions, as well as rules governing diplomatic relationships between countries. For example, the legal immunity extended to diplomats serving in other countries is considered a part of international law. Some critics do not consider what is termed “international law” to be law at all, as, unlike domestic law (where there is a police force and a judicial system to manage those who break the law), it does not have a world government to require compliance. A state wishing to break its treaty commitments can do so. It may risk its reputation as a good global citizen and face international condemnation and/or possible sanctions, but it will not, for example, be invaded by a global police force. In spite of these challenges, international law has gained momentum in the last 50 years in large part due to the United Nations, which has served as a depository for an increasing number of treaties and conventions and the recent creation of various international courts designed specifically for dispute settlement.The first half of this course will define international law, identify its foundations, and review its historical development. In addition to learning how international law has developed, we will examine how these laws are enforced— or, in many cases, not enforced. The primary critique of international law is that these “laws” are more aspirational than legal due to the difficulty of enforcement. Who can enforce international law and how are recurrent problems handled in this field? The inherent conflicts of international law with national sovereignty, domestic politics, and balance of power will also be reviewed.In the second half of the course, we will explore specific topics within international law, such as the laws of war, the laws of the sea, international human rights, international crimes, environmental law, protection of intellectual property, and international trade. The course will conclude with a review of successes and failures of international law.
Days of the Week:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
- Level of Difficulty: All Levels
- Size: One-on-One
- Cost: Free
- Institution: Saylor