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International economic law is a field of public international law that regulates crossborder transactions in goods, services, and capital, as well as monetary relations between states. This chapter focuses on the branches of international economic law that govern international trade, international investment, and international monetary law. It sets out the historical background, fundamental rules, and dispute settlement systems in the areas of international trade law and international investment law, and it concludes by introducing international monetary law. International trade and international investment law share some fundamental principles, such as non-discrimination, although most favored nation treatment and national treatment take somewhat different forms in the two bodies of law. This chapter covers the Bretton Woods institutions, namely the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as well as the World Trade Organization (WTO).
This chapter begins by introducing a number of foundational concepts, which serve as the starting point in the field of public international law. Section 1 of this chapter begins with the notion that states are sovereign equals, which must consent to be bound by nternational law. This section also introduces the critical distinction that international law makes between states and “non-state actors.” Section 2 of this chapter discusses the inevitable comparison of public international law with domestic legal systems, and the significant limitations of this analogy as a means for understanding the field of public international law. Section 3 concludes by explaining this book’s overarching structure, as well as the approach of this book to the introduction of public international law.
This chapter begins by explaining why international lawyers typically begin discussions about the sources of public international law by referencing Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). It then introduces treaties and custom, which are the two main sources of law in this field, before discussing other sources, namely general principles of law, decisions of international organizations, unilateral declarations, as well as judicial decisions and the teachings of international legal experts. The chapter ends with a discussion of non-binding instruments, which do not contain binding legal rules, but are nonetheless significant in the international legal field, as they contain norms that impact the behavior of states.
International law on immunities consists of a body of procedural rules that limit when a state may exercise jurisdiction within its territory. These procedural rules could prevent a domestic court from exercising jurisdiction in a case involving a foreign state, a foreign state official, or an international organization. These rules could also prevent a police officer from exercising jurisdiction by arresting and detaining a foreign diplomat or a minister of foreign affairs. International law bars the exercise of jurisdiction in such situations, either because the exercise of jurisdiction would threaten the equality of sovereign states or because the capacity of the individual or organization to carry out their functions would be compromised. This chapter begins with the law on state immunity, which has evolved over the centuries from an absolute doctrine to a more restrictive one, which permits exceptions, in particular when states engage in commercial activities. The chapter introduces the immunities that apply to all individuals who serve as state officials, whether they serve as relatively low-level civil servants or as the president or prime minister. The chapter also deals with two special regimes, one governing diplomatic and consular agents who serve abroad, and the other governing international organizations.
This chapter begins by elaborating on the concept of a dispute, before providing a historical perspective on the evolution of the requirement to settle disputes peacefully. The chapter then explores diplomatic as well as legal methods of dispute settlement. Diplomatic forms of dispute settlement (also known as political or non-legal forms of dispute settlement) include negotiation, mediation, inquiry, and conciliation. Legal forms of dispute settlement include arbitration and adjudication. Resort by states to dispute settlement procedures, and in particular legal methods of dispute settlement, has grown exponentially in the last decades. Since the 1990s, the International Court of Justice has had an increasingly active docket of cases, and, in addition, the Permanent Court of Arbitration has undergone a sort of renaissance. The focus of this chapter will be on the settlement of inter-state disputes, as opposed to disputes between states and non-state actors or between non-state actors.
International criminal law is the branch of public international law under which individuals may be held criminally responsible for the offenses of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression. International criminal law seeks to prevent impunity by holding accountable those individuals who are responsible for serious violations of international criminal law. This chapter begins with the history of international criminal law, starting with the aftermath of the First and Second World Wars, and ending with the creation of a spate of international criminal courts and tribunals in recent decades. The chapter then covers substantive aspects of international criminal law, namely the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression. Finally, the chapter covers key procedural aspects of international criminal law, including the jurisdiction of international courts and tribunals, the admissibility of cases, modes of liability, and immunities. The International Criminal Court (ICC) will form a focal point in this chapter.
The rules of state responsibility are set out in the International Law Commission’s (ILC) Articles on the Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts. This chapter introduces the basic features of the ILC’s Articles on State Responsibility, beginning with an explanation of what constitutes an internationally wrongful act. The following section discusses the circumstances precluding wrongfulness that may be invoked by states seeking to avoid responsibility for an internationally wrongful act. The chapter then covers the aftermath of an internationally wrongful act, which can involve legal consequences, such as reparations, as well as countermeasures. This chapter focuses specifically on the responsibility of states, rather than the responsibility of international organizations or individuals.
This chapter focuses on the rules set out in the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT). The chapter begins with the concept of a treaty, before discussing treatymaking, with a particular focus on the conclusion of treaties, their entry into force, and reservations to treaties. The chapter then delves into how treaties operate -- namely, their scope of application and their interpretation. Finally, this chapter looks at the invalidity, suspension, and termination of treaties.
Written for students working in a range of disciplines, this textbook provides an accessible, balanced, and nuanced introduction to the field of public international law. It explains the basic concepts and legal frameworks of public international law while acknowledging the field's inherent complexities and controversies. Featuring numerous carefully chosen and clearly explained examples, it demonstrates how the law applies in practice, and public international law's pervasive influence on world affairs, both past and present. Aiming not to over-emphasize any particular domestic jurisprudence or research interest, this textbook offers a global overview of public international law that will be highly valuable to any student new to the study of this very significant field.