International Law: What It Is and Why It Matters

International law is the body of law that governs relations and conduct of sovereign states with each other, as well as with international organizations and individuals. It is a complex and ever-evolving field, but it is essential for maintaining peace and order in the world. //

Sources of international law:

International law is derived from a variety of sources, including:

  • Treaties: Treaties are agreements between two or more states that are binding on those states.
  • Customary international law: Customary international law is law that has developed over time through the consistent practice of states.
  • General principles of law: General principles of law are common principles of law that are found in the domestic legal systems of many states.
  • Judicial decisions: Judicial decisions of international courts and tribunals, such as the International Court of Justice, can also help to shape international law.

Enforcement of international law:

International law is primarily enforced through state consent. This means that states agree to be bound international law and to comply with its rules. However, there are also some international institutions, such as the United Nations Security Council, that have the power to enforce international law through sanctions and other measures.

Why international law matters:

International law matters for a number of reasons. First, it helps to maintain peace and order in the world providing a framework for states to resolve their disputes // peacefully. Second, it promotes human rights and protects the environment. Third, it facilitates international trade and investment.

Examples of international law in action:

Here are a few examples of international law in action:

  • The United Nations Charter is a treaty that establishes the United Nations and sets out its principles and purposes.
  • The Geneva Conventions are treaties that regulate the conduct of war and protect civilians and prisoners of war.
  • The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an international organization that sets rules for international trade.
  • The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an international court that prosecutes individuals accused of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.


International law is a complex and ever-evolving field, but it is essential for maintaining peace and order in the world. By understanding the basics of international law, we can all play a role in promoting its development and enforcement.