"Truth is that international law is neither a myth on the one hand, nor a panacea on the other, but just one institution among others which we can use for building of a better international order" (J. Brierly, The law of nations, Oxford 1995). Law is a system of rules that is kept and enforced through a set of institutions (wikipedia.en, definition of Robertson). So international law is such a system but at an international level. The notion of "international law" is about several kinds of law. There is the private international law also called the conflict of laws, which deals with conflicts in private law but at international level, for instance when there is a problem to define which domestic law must be applied in some cases, often about economy and trade. The international law is also, and overall, the public international law and the law of supranational organizations, we often talk about "transnational law" for both.
[...] We owe Romans the use of treaties in international relations and the principle of “pacta sunt servanda” put forward by the Vienna Convention about treaties in 1969. They developed jus gentium, meaning the law of foreigners. The roman legacy for the law in European countries represents also an influence on international law because we use our law and our values to build an international law. It is interesting to notice that, even the Bible thought about the relations between states and the way to organize it. [...]
[...] We have just seen years of History in order to analyse the appearance and the development of an international law. Because the states are more and more in relationships each with others, the international law has an increasing importance in lots of fields. We are going to try to define what international is law beyond the definition seen in introduction. To define international law is explain its purposes, sources, the way it is applied, who are concerned by international law and about what kind of causes. [...]
[...] (id est) the distinction between international law (law of nations) and domestic law. Finally, Grotius greatly contributed to the development of international law at several levels: the law of sea with his book Mare Liberum, he recognized the primacy of natural law on voluntary law, and he published in 1625 a work about the law of war and peace, De jure belli ac pacis. In 1648, the Peace of Westphalia ended the Thirty-Year war, but this treaty is above all important because he marked the appearance of the modern state in Europe and of the concept of sovereignty. [...]
[...] But the world is more and more complicated, in a context of globalization; the states are not more the only actors to be important in the international stage. The individuals, companies and, in particular, international organizations, as the NGOs, are also concerned by the international law. Actually, they were only objects of law but with time they have become subjects of international law. Especially, NGOs play a great role in international relations and in the building of a new international order promoting peace and respect of humankind. [...]
[...] But international law is not restrained to the idea of peace and human rights. There are many development of international law in some fields like environmental issues with the Kyoto Protocol, like international trade with the WTO because such topics concern the whole inhabitants of the planet. The global warming is a big problem today and for future, its solution needs cooperation between all states, and it is difficult to act just individually. The purposes of international law have to be pursued, but to realize it, a “international gendarme” should exist, contrary to domestic law, international law does not have sufficient tools to force states to respect it, but it exist an International court of justice since 1946, and an International criminal court to try special crimes concerning humanity. [...]
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