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Public International Law – Reflection Paper

As in it happens in many cases the hardest part of an written assignment is (besides


gathering information) the beginning. In my opinion, the introduction should provide the
abstract definition for the subject in metter and the main futures and the key ideas regarding
the essay.
My beliefs are that every student who follows the courses of the English program at
UDC asked himself during the last couple of weeks this question: “What is Public International
Law?”. The definition which is usually to be found into the doctrine or in the specialty literature
points out that the Public Internatonal Law is constituted by the body of rules, norms, and
standards that apply between sovereign states and other entities that are legally recognized as
international actors. Moving further with my investigation, I could not omit to say a few words
about the international subjects who are governed by the International body law. Earlier states
were the only subjects of international law but now the position has changed gradually and
now individuals, international organizations and non-state entities are also treated as subjects,
which were earlier treated as objects of international law.
From a historical perspective, I would like to introduce a few ideas regarding the
development of the International Law during the early history of the Roman Empire period
(since the subject fascinated me troughout the first year of my studies). The Romans did not
developed an international law, as it acted without regard to any external rules in its dealings
with those territories that were not already part of the empire. The Romans did, however, form
municipal laws regulating the interactions between private Roman citizens and foreigners.
These laws, called the jus gentium (as opposed to the jus civile governing interactions between
citizens) codified some ideas of basic fairness, and attributed some rules to an objective,
independent "natural law." These jus gentium ideas of fairness and natural law have survived
and are reflected in modern international law. Nevertheless, the historical evolution has always
taken historians by surprise and therefore, after the fall of the Roman Empire and the collapse
of the Holy Roman Empire into autonomous cities, principalities, kingdoms, states and nations,
and for the first time there was a real need for rules of conduct between a large international
community without an empire or a dominant religious leadership to moderate and direct
international dealings.
Moving further into the modern times, I feel compelled to remark one of the most
significant piece of the International Public Law architecture which is (due to my
considerations) the fact that if treaties (the agreements or contract among states under which
the parties intend to be bound) are broken, their effectivenesssis weakend because there is no
assurance that future promises will be kept and, therefore, no form of punishment will be
available in the sense of the civil law kind of remedies. There is another key element which
differentiates Public Int. Law from the other law branches and that is due to the fact that The
ICJ (the principal judicial organ of the United Nationas consisting of 15 judges, each from
different states) has jurisdiction only over states that have consented to it. It follows that the
court cannot hear a dispute between two or more state parties when one of the parties has not
accepted its jurisdiction. This can happen even where the non-consenting party adheres to the
court's statute, for mere adherence to the statute does not imply consent to its tribunals.
In other words, just as men could not live together in a society without laws and
customs to regulate their actions, so States could not have mutual intercourse without usages
and conventions to regulate their conduct. International Law impinges on state sovereignty by
creating new structures for regulating relations across international boundaries.The harmony in
political ideas, art and literature, scientific discovery, the exchange of embassy for the purpose
of carrying on International intercourse and commerce all tends to bring States together in a
social bond. This being said there is a large agreement regarding the fact that without
International laws and customs, it is impossible for states to maintain relations on the basis of
peace, harmony and mutual co-operation. Rather, then the rule 'might is right' will prevail that
would be destructive for the global peace and humanity.
To summarize in a short sentence the basis of the main ideas and arguments presented
previously I would define the mission of the body of rules regulating the International law
which governs relations between states as the leading source which provides the basis for peace
and stability and aims to protect and ensure the wellbeing of humankind.
There is a vast range of opinions and classification as regarding the fundamental
principles of Public International Law but, in my opinion, the cornerstone concept of the PIL
stands in the rule of law. The rule of law implies that rights must be protected by law,
independently of the will of the ruler. Individual rights and freedoms are to be protected
against any manifestation of arbitrary power by public authorities. The principle of the ‘rule of
law’ is contained in the Preamble to the Charter of the United Nations. The evolution from the
concept promoted during the XI century leading to the idea that the the King was subject to the
law (and also the source of all legislation, while the administration of justice and the jurisdiction
were his privileges), because it was the law that had first made him King (quia lex facit regem).
This is what was originally meant by the rule of law has gone thorugh a process of changes
(paralel to evolving views on the role, functioning and organsation of a national Government)
the e rule of law should thus be seen as a whole set of legal standards by which governments
and subjects are bound. The exact content of these standards is determined by several factors,
including public opinion, political consciousness and the prevailing sense of justice. Nowadays ,
the rule of law aims to maintain a delicate balance between the opposite notions of individual
liberty and public order.
After this brief presentation I would like to mention some of qualities which I’m
convinced that will bring a plus into the PIL classes. This being laid out, there is an unwritten
agreement between law students as regarding the difficulty and demands of learning case
briefs, hundreds of pages of doctrine or the necessity to always be connected to the political,
legislative or economical changes in a certain area of the globe/region. Therefore, law school is
meant to be challenging, it’s meant to push you out of your comfort zone and think about
issues in a new way, but I’d like to see myself as an ambitious person and a dedicated student
who rather than getting discouraged or frustrated will embrace into the law school
atmosphere and even enjoy the challenge of learning the law and mastering new skills.
Nevertheless, we shall not forget that an international lawyer has to adapt to the changes of
the International law regulations since the characteristic of the International law is the
flexibility of it’s provisions. There are some things that I would like to emphasize in relations
with the aspects that characterize me which are the dedication, passion, sacrifice and oblation
but most importantly, the fact that I’m always fully committed and willing to do everthings that
needs to be done in a proper and qualitative form/manner.
There could be more to be said, but I’m afraid that by making a exhaustive/complete
presentation of myself, all the charm of the relation between a student and his/her professor
would disappear since the social communication is more important than trying to make an
impression throughout an reflection paper.