International Law.docx

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University of Calgary
Political Science
POLI 483
James( Jim) Francis Keeley

International law can be traced back to 2 tendencies: realist and liberal. International relations is a vulgar discipline in the sense that it is very driven and responsive to things going on in the world and the desire to make the world a better place. A discipline that arose particularly after WWI – devoted to trying to stop it happening again. One line of thought argued that if you increase the role of international institutions and the role of international law, you could increase international cooperation and reduce the incidents and violence. Replace balance of power system in Europe. Seen as failing. Replacing it with something that would be closer to a well-ordered western domestic system. Legal institutions become important in maintaining order. Interesting developments emerging from this:  Get development of legal arbitration (countries can go to a judge, which they select to deal with a specific issue and be guided by the results. Example: Britain and the US Alabama. US looked for compensation from Britain)  A more organized system of arbitration  League of Nations – Collective security organization to reduce the incidents of violence in the system.  Creation of an international court of justice to serve as a dispute resolution system.  Mechanisms that are available to states to resolve disputes through legal means. Assumption that law will trump politics. Assumption that states will have an obvious interest in obeying the law. (Don’t like the law then change it – makes it difficult) After WWII – League of Nations disappears and is replaced by the UN. International court of justice. Liberal approach to peace based on international law is challenged by realism. Realism is based on problems of power, struggle, anarchy and competition. That we exist in an unpredictable environment. Material capabilities are an important factor whether we survive. Problems with Realism  Still accept that legal system is organized as a domestic western system. (Accept liberal model as what the system should look like)  There is too much cooperation out there. How does realism account for this?  Don’t have adequate account of international law. (How it works, why it works etc.) Domestic Legal System Realism and Liberalism both project the institutions in domestic systems onto the world. FUNCTIONS AND INSTITUTIONS Domestic International International Legal Legal System Legal System: System: Functions Misleading? Actual Legislative Assemblies UN General UNGA to a very limited (e.g., Assembly? degree. Major sources Parliament) are treaties, customs and general principles Executive/Enforcement Police UN Security Sometimes UNSC, but Council? largely self-help and
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