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Session 4

European institutions and comparative international systems - 1

European inst. and comp. inter. Systems – International Law

Definitions
 Tribunal is a court of justice.
 De facto means a state of affairs that is true in fact, but that is not
officially sanctioned.
 De jure means a state of affairs that is in accordance with law (i.e. that is
officially sanctioned.
 Sanctioned means to give official permission or approval for (an action).
 Sovereignty is the full right and power of a governing body over itself,
without any interference from outside sources or bodies.
 Sovereign immunity is a legal doctrine by which the sovereign or state
cannot commit a legal wrong and is immune from civil suit or criminal
prosecution.

Concepts
Is there international Law?
 Answer: “Probably, but there are also arguments against it!”
 We have
o System of rules between states
o Constitutional structure (e.g. United Nations)
o System of tribunals
 International court of justice, crime and arbitration try to
enforce international law but are still very weak.
 We don’t have
o Agreement from everyone (no uniformity)
o No/weak sanctions (no international army)
 International law has its limits
o Example: Israel – Palestine conflict
What is included?
 Three important areas
o The law between states (international public law)
o The law of international institutions (international institutional
law)
o The law between private parties in different states (international
private law)
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European institutions and comparative international systems - 2

o (Law between private parties and a foreign state)


The State – The main actor in international law
 Four requirements
o Defined territory (land only)
o Permanent population
o Exclusive right to govern territory (sovereignty)
o Recognition
 E.g. official recognition of the UN/otherwise unofficial
The State – Its international representatives and their immunities
 Sovereign immunity
o Germany cannot be prosecuted
 Diplomatic immunity
o Embassy
 Is immunity absolute?
o Things that are repugnant?
o It depends on the circumstances.
The Treaty – Building block of international law
 Agreement between states
o International practice set out in Vienna conventaion on the law of
treaties (1969)
 Applied by
o International tribunals
o Some national courts
o Extradition Treaty: kill s/o in France, go to England and be arrested
in England for the crime in France.
o Most treaties are not enforced
 The basics
o Only affects parties that signed
o Do not have retroactive effect (past) – except the treaty says so
o May only be changed with the agreement of all other parties
 Some states can join without unanimous agreement
o May create new international institutions.
 International crime
o cross border investigations (Interpol)
 Treaties on governing law and on jurisdiction
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European institutions and comparative international systems - 3

o Enforcement against private persons still national – constitutions


may give treaties effect in national law
International institutions – The United Nations
 Objectives?
 Institutional structure – democratic deficit?
o General assembly
o Security council – UN peacekeepers
 UN agencies (Unisef)
 Tribunals (ICJ)
 Enforcement of international law
o Sanctions on states and their representatives (economic, personal)
International Institutions – World Trade Organization
 General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT)
 Series of treaties on trade
o Mainly goods, some services
o Also TRIPS: Must be intellectual property protection in all states
 Negotiating forum supported b a secretariat + enforcement
o WTO panels (arbitration) in case of dispute
o sanctions