Sources of international law. System of sources of international law
Interstate cooperation is based on. As a rule, the provisions and norms determined after negotiations between countries are fixed at the level of official sources. What is their classification? What can be the reason for differences in the legal significance of such documents?
Determination of the source of international law
Before studying what sources of international law are, we will determine the essence of the key subject of the issue we are considering. What are the main concepts of Russian theorists reflecting this issue? By sources of law, domestic lawyers usually understand a certain documentary form through which certain rules of behavior are expressed and, at the same time, the corresponding regulations are endowed with the properties of a legal norm.Sources of international law are thus documents containing prescriptions addressed to states, organizations, officials, in some cases to citizens, that is, to all entities that participate in communications on the world stage.
The considered type of sources of law is characterized by some distinctive features. Most clearly, they can be traced when compared with national laws and regulations.
First of all, it can be noted that the sources of international law, as a rule, contain the norms established in the process of forming a compromise between the relevant subjects of legal relations, which is usually achieved during diplomatic negotiations. National laws are adopted through parliamentary procedures, which imply a completely different format of dialogue between the subjects of legal relations.
Another feature that characterizes the sources of international law is the presence of simultaneous legal obligations for all legal entities. In the case of national regulations, this is not always the case; in some cases they are unidirectional and prescriptive.
The peculiarity of the sources of international law lies in the fact that among world jurists there are no clear criteria for what kind of documents can be assigned to the category in question. But we can, for example, focus on some of the provisions adopted by the largest international organization - the UN.
One of the Statutes of the Court of this structure, in particular, provides a list of documents that can be applied when considering various disputes. According to the relevant provisions, the sources of international law are:
- customs with signs of the legal norm;
- general principles that are recognized in the civilized world;
- some court decisions, as well as the doctrine of qualified experts.
Is the classification conditional?
Many lawyers, however, emphasize that this classification is not official. But it is quite possible to use the subjects of legal relations on the world stage as a guideline when choosing the optimal format of the developed sources of the norms necessary for the effective construction of cooperation with partners.
Specific sources in the UN version
Above, we examined how the system of sources of international law looks in the UN methodology. What is the specific application of each of these types of documents?
The term "convention" is evaluated by experts as quite capacious. But more often it refers to international treaties open to participation for all states, but at the same time containing rules and regulations that countries that have ratified the corresponding document must fulfill.
Custom as a source of law
The model of behavior of subjects of legal relations in the international arena, historically reproduced in a more or less permanent form, can form a legal custom, which can also be a source of the type in question. At the same time, as noted by some lawyers, this model initiated can be, directly or indirectly, a quite official legal act.
Judgment as a source of law
The concept of the source of international law in the UN methodology assigns court decisions that we noted in the list, a rather important role, according to some experts. That is, such documents are less similar to Russian decisions, verdicts and rulings that are not are regulationsthey are closer to the American judicial precedents, which have the character of independent sources of law. Such decisions, as lawyers believe, are important auxiliary tools in international communications, used in addition to a better understanding of the specifics of legal relations in a particular state or region of the world.
Regarding the execution of decisions of the UN Court - they are binding on the countries that are parties to the dispute that is being considered by this international organization. If any of the states refuses their obligations imposed by the court, another one that was an opponent in the dispute may make a request to the UN Security Council with the aim of initiating the executive procedures provided for by the organization.
Doctrines of experts
Doctrines of experts, according to experts, are valuable sources of the principles of international law. But as documents that may contain any prescriptions, they are practically not considered. At the same time, such sources are important from the point of view of correct explanation of the positions and wishes of the subjects of legal relations, as well as in solving problems related to the interpretation of norms that contain certain sources of law, international treaties.
Sources of law in world practice
We studied approaches to examining the nature of the documents in the category under consideration from the point of view of the UN methodology. It will be useful to study also other criteria used in world practice. According to some Russian lawyers, it is quite legitimate to single out the following main sources of international law that have been formed historically and are accepted by the majority of legal entities on the world stage today:
- act of a conference or meeting at the international level;
Lawyers name the first two types of documents as the most strict in terms of execution. Moreover, the importance of custom in many cases, as experts note, may be so indisputable that the adoption of other sources of law may simply be inappropriate. In turn, the acts adopted at conferences or meetings, as well as resolutions, do not always imply legal obligations for the legal relations subjects that compiled them.
The specifics of resolutions
However, the essence of the resolutions should be considered separately. The fact is that in some cases the specifics of the constituent documents of international structures that form this kind of sources of law,may stipulate the obligations of states to comply with the relevant regulations. Thus, it is quite possible that the resolution will be no less a legally strong document than, say, a treaty. These include sources developed, for example, in organizations such as the IAEA.
Anyway, an international treaty is generally the most legally strong source of law. Consider the specifics of the relevant type of documents in more detail.
The definition and status of international treaties in the modern interpretation is enshrined in the 1969 Vienna Convention. Some provisions reflecting the role of this kind of sources of law are also enshrined in the UN Charter. An international treaty, according to the language of the Vienna Convention, is understood as an agreement in the form of one or more documents, which is concluded between countries in writing. The main feature of such sources of law is mutual acceptance.
According to experts, the legal status of international treaties in Russia is characterized by great legal force. In particular, in a number of keyfrom the point of view of the political governance of the country, the laws of the Russian Federation, it is said that some norms of international treaties should be implemented as a matter of priority regarding national legal acts of a similar orientation.
Acceptance of international treaties
How do states accept and enforce international treaties? Specific procedural aspects are largely determined by the specifics of the legal system of a single country.
Consider how international treaties are accepted in Russia. At the first stage, the relevant source of law is ratified. This is done through the interaction of legislative and executive power structures. Only then can Russia accede to the relevant international treaty, signing it in the person of a competent official. Moreover, in some cases, the procedure for signing a document may be preliminary, in others - final. If necessary, authorities competent in the discussion of an international treaty may wish to adjust certain points of the relevantsource of law and coordinate their wishes with the partner party.
Classification of international treaties
International treaties are divided into three main types - intergovernmental, intergovernmental and interdepartmental. The first are made on behalf of the whole country, the second are from the structures of the executive power, and the third from individual departments. Another basis for classifying international treaties is the number of participants. Thus, relevant sources of law can be either bilateral, or imply a larger number of acceding countries. Contracts may be closed or open. Only some states can join the first, any can join the second.
Another basis for classifying documents of this type is the scope of regulation. So, sources of international criminal law, environmental, humanitarian, economic, private can be compiled. It will be useful to consider the specifics of the legal acts of these types in more detail.
Variety of sources
Sources of international criminal law, as a rule, are aimed at the interaction of states in the aspect of legal assistance in the implementation of the relevant judicial procedure and procedures for the execution of sentences.There are various kinds of extradition treaties, agreements on the rules of extradition of persons who have committed crimes. There are international standards prescribing the rules for dealing with violators of the law, as well as principles governing the behavior of law enforcement officers.
Sources of international economic law can be represented in the widest range of document types. These include, for example, the Declaration on the New Economic Order, adopted in 1974. Other sources of international economic law that are significant to the world community are the Charter on the Rights and Obligations of States, also adopted in 1974. Another noteworthy document is the UN Economic Cooperation Declaration, adopted in 1990.
Sources of international environmental law occupy an important place in the system of relations between the states of the world. Environmental problems worry every country. What are the most significant sources of international environmental law? Russian experts point out the following: the London Convention against Sea Pollution of 1954, the Convention on the Protection of Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted in 1972, the Convention on Air Pollution of 1979.
Sources of private international law play an important role in the system of relations between states. Among the first documents of this type is the Statute of the Hague Conference on the relevant branch of law. However, according to many experts, sources of private international law can be found on the example of various national laws. Often such documents can be found, for example, in the field of patent law.
Sources of international humanitarian law, as a rule, reflect the tasks of states in the field of cooperation in the supply of various kinds of aid to regions of the world where they are needed, within the framework of cooperation in the sphere of education and medicine. This direction of communications is among the key ones in the field of modern diplomacy. Sources of international humanitarian law can be presented in a variety of documentary forms - conventions, treaties, resolutions.