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Is International Law Really Law? Essay

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What is international law and is international law really considered to be law; the answer to these questions can be found in the examples of different international resolutions. Some of these examples of when the law has been followed and upheld can be called law can be found in the examples of New Zealand v. France with the bombing and sinking of the Greenpeace vessel. Another example can be seen in the case of the Islamic Republic of Iran v. Untied States of America in regards to the United States shooting down an Iranian commercial aircraft. There also is an example in the case of New Zealand v. France where the law was not followed so could this still be considered law.
International law is a body of legally binding rules that are suppose to govern the relations between sovereign states. (Cornell Law School) In order to be a qualified subject, a state has to be sovereign. To be considered sovereign the state needs to have territory, a population, and a government that is recognized or legitimized to most other states. In the more modern explanation of international law now can include the rights and obligation on intergovernmental international organizations and even individuals. Examples of an international organization would be Greenpeace or the United Nations and an example of an individual would be war criminals, a leader of a state that violated human rights during a time of war. When a dispute arise and cannot be solved amongst the two actors involved they can turn to the U.N. to arbitrate and to the International Court of Justice, one of many courts within the U.N. to find a resolution to their problem. The International Court of Justice’s main task is to help settle legal disputes submitted to it by states and...


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April 04, 2014)


Ed. Rajaee, Farhang. 1993. The Iran-Iraq War: The Politics of Aggression. Gainesville:

University Press of Florida.

International Court of Justice. 1989. Islamic Republic of Iran v. United States of America

http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/79/6623.pdf. (Accessed April 4, 2014)


Pugh, Michael.1987. “Legal Aspects of the Rainbow Warrior Affair.” The International and

Comparative Law Quarterly Vol. 36 (No. 3): 655–669.

Rainbow Warrior. 1990. New Zealand v. France. France- New Zealand Arbitration Tribunal.

http://www.iilj.org/courses/documents/RainbowWarrior.pdf (Accessed April 6, 2014).

Veitch, J. (2010). A sordid act: the Rainbow Warrior incident. New Zealand International

Review, 35(4), 6-9.

Wright, Robin. “Iranian Boats May Not Have Made Radio Threat, Pentagon Says.”
Washington Post. 11 January,2008.



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