POLB81 - Summary on International Organization, International Law and the Environment

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Political Science
Wiafe- Amaoko

Summary- International Law • International Law is a law that governs the relations between states. • Only states are subjects of international law and can bring a claim to ICJ; certain international organizations have acquired international legal personalities making them subjects of international law. • Sources of International Law include International conventions (Treaties); International custom; General principles of Law; and Legal Scholarships. • Jus cogens: are principles or norms of international law that is based on values taken to be fundamental to the international community that cannot be disregarded. Or a fundamental principle accepted as a universal norm. • Enforcement of international law depends on the power and willingness of states to punish those that violate the laws; Reciprocity principle is also critical in enforcing international law. • The International Court of Justice is the primary judiciary organ of the United Nations. • It addresses only legal disputes submitted to it by states; i.e. only states can sue and be sued at the ICJ. (Contentious Cases) • Also gives advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by other UN organs and authorized agencies (Advisory proceedings) • International Law includes the Law of Sovereignty (Law of diplomacy); Just War doctrine (Geneva Conventions, POWs); Law of the Sea (Internal, Territorial, Exclusive Economic Zones- EEZ, and the High Seas). Summary- Environment • Environmental issues are embodied in the debate between individual and collective interest. • The conceptual explanation of how the environment is threatened is embodied in the “Tragedy of the Commons”. Failure to manage the commons brings ruin to all. • Malthus and Hardin warned about the potential dangers of growth to the environment. • Externality: occurs when a decision imposes costs or provides benefits to individuals other than the person making the decision; it can also refer to unintended consequences of an activity. Eg Driving a car  pollution • International Treaties on the management of the environment include the Montreal Protocol (regarding Ozone depletion); Kyoto protocol (Global warming and control of greenhouse gases
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