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International Law as 'Law'

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 03:11 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 37.9 
  • Words: 1618
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When comparing apples to pears, one is not making a fair comparison, but a disproportionate comparison. Often times when international law is discussed or attempts are made to understand international law; many often attempt to compare international law with existing laws such as national law or domestic law. Making such disproportionate comparisons leads to many misconceived notions and attitudes toward international law.   For an adequate comparison of international law to other laws, one should look closely at the available facts.   This essay will demonstrate the vitality of international law, in a world of nations which continue to increase in interdependence.  


Unlike municipal law, international law is a horizontal system designed to deal with the external interactions of states between each other; whereas municipal law represents a centralized system with various institutions. In the eyes of international law, states are recognized as being sovereign and equal, although in reality some states are more powerful than others. Therefore, dealing with states of equal statue makes it difficult to force a state to behave in a particular manner. Municipal law on the other hand behaves as supreme law of the land and people of various states suffer penal consequences for not adhering to the established law of the state. In the international arena agreements are made and states uphold these agreements which they have consented and expect other states involved to do like wise.   In effect, what distinguishes the rules and principles of international law from ‘mere morality’ is that they are accepted in practice as legally binding by states in their intercourse because they are useful to reduce complexity and uncertainty in international relations (Malanczuk 6-7).


As mentioned previously, municipal law is mainly concerned with state internal affairs, whereas international law pertains to the external dealings of states with one another.   Taking this into...

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