Sources of international law

The Hittite version of the Treaty of Kadesh, among the earliest extant examples of an international agreement.

International law, also known as "law of nations", refers to the body of rules which regulate the conduct of sovereign states in their relations with one another.

- Sources of international law
The Hittite version of the Treaty of Kadesh, among the earliest extant examples of an international agreement.

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The Hittite version of the Treaty of Kadesh, among the earliest extant examples of an international agreement.

Customary international law

Aspect of international law involving the principle of custom.

Aspect of international law involving the principle of custom.

The Hittite version of the Treaty of Kadesh, among the earliest extant examples of an international agreement.

Along with general principles of law and treaties, custom is considered by the International Court of Justice, jurists, the United Nations, and its member states to be among the primary sources of international law.

The Moroccan-American Treaty of Peace and Friendship, sealed by Sultan Mohammed III.

Treaty

Formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law.

Formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law.

The Moroccan-American Treaty of Peace and Friendship, sealed by Sultan Mohammed III.
The signing of the Geneva Conventions in 1949. A country’s signature, through plenipotentiaries with "full power" to conclude a treaty, is often sufficient to manifest an intention to be bound by the treaty.
The International Court of Justice is often called upon to aid in the interpretation or implementation of treaties.
A treaty delegation of the Mdewakanton and Wahpekute indigenous tribes to Washington, D.C. (1858).

Treaties serve as primary sources of international law and have codified or established most international legal principles since the early 20th century.

Emblem of the International Court of Justice

International Court of Justice

One of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN).

One of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN).

Emblem of the International Court of Justice
The Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, seat of the ICJ
Audience of the "Accordance with International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence by the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government of Kosovo"

The ICJ is the only international court that adjudicates general disputes between countries, with its rulings and opinions serving as primary sources of international law.

The Hittite version of the Treaty of Kadesh, among the earliest extant examples of an international agreement.

International law

Set of rules, norms, and standards generally recognized as binding between nations.

Set of rules, norms, and standards generally recognized as binding between nations.

The Hittite version of the Treaty of Kadesh, among the earliest extant examples of an international agreement.
Hugo Grotius' De jure belli ac pacis, is considered one of the foundational texts of international law. (Pictured is the title page from the second edition of 1631).
A portrait of the Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius (alias Hugo de Groot)
Sir Alberico Gentili is regarded as the Father of international law.
The First Geneva Convention (1864) is one of the earliest formulations of international law

The sources of international law include international custom (general state practice accepted as law), treaties, and general principles of law recognized by most national legal systems.

United Nations

Intergovernmental organization whose purpose is to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.

Intergovernmental organization whose purpose is to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.

Members of the United Nations
1943 sketch by Franklin Roosevelt of the UN original three branches: The Four Policemen, an executive branch, and an international assembly of forty UN member states
The UN in 1945: founding members in light blue, protectorates and territories of the founding members in dark blue
Dag Hammarskjöld was a particularly active secretary-general from 1953 until his death in 1961.
Kofi Annan, secretary-general from 1997 to 2006
Flags of member nations at the United Nations Headquarters, seen in 2007
Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet general secretary, addressing the UN General Assembly in December 1988
Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, demonstrates a vial with alleged Iraq chemical weapon probes to the UN Security Council on Iraq war hearings, 5 February 2003
Current secretary-general, António Guterres
The ICJ ruled that Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008 did not violate international law.
Under Sukarno, Indonesia became the first and only country to leave the United Nations.
A Nepalese soldier on a peacekeeping deployment providing security at a rice distribution site in Haiti during 2010
The UN Buffer Zone in Cyprus was established in 1974 following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
Eleanor Roosevelt with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1949
Three former directors of the Global Smallpox Eradication Programme reading the news that smallpox has been globally eradicated in 1980
In Jordan, UNHCR remains responsible for the Syrian refugees and the Zaatari refugee camp.
The 2001 Nobel Peace Prize to the UN—diploma in the lobby of the UN Headquarters in New York City
Marking of the UN's 70th anniversary – Budapest, 2015

The ICJ's rulings are binding upon parties and, along with its advisory opinions, serve as sources of international law.

Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law

Online encyclopedia dealing with international law.

Online encyclopedia dealing with international law.

Sources, foundations and principles of international law

Legal systems of the world. Common law countries are in several shades of pink, corresponding to variations in common law systems.

The Paquete Habana

Landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court concerning the applicability and recognition of international law by the United States.

Landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court concerning the applicability and recognition of international law by the United States.

Legal systems of the world. Common law countries are in several shades of pink, corresponding to variations in common law systems.

Justice Gray also relied on the theories and opinions of contemporary jurists and commentators from across the world to buttress the Court's reasoning, decades before such scholarly legal work would be codified as a primary source of international law: [A]t the present day, by the general consent of the civilized nations of the world, and independently of any express treaty or other public act, it is an established rule of international law, founded on considerations of humanity.

Building of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, seat of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina

List of decisions of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina

A select number of decisions from the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina have proven to have a profound effect on legal and political situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

A select number of decisions from the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina have proven to have a profound effect on legal and political situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Building of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, seat of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina

In addition, the Court had to interpret the Article III(3)(b) which provides that the "general principles of international law shall be an integral part of the law of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Entities".

Legal status of the Holy See

The legal status of the Holy See, the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, both in state practice and according to the writing of modern legal scholars, is that of a full subject of public international law, with rights and duties analogous to those of states.

The Hittite version of the Treaty of Kadesh, among the earliest extant examples of an international agreement.

German Yearbook of International Law

Germany's oldest yearbook in the field of public international law.

Germany's oldest yearbook in the field of public international law.

The Hittite version of the Treaty of Kadesh, among the earliest extant examples of an international agreement.

Beginning with Vol. 52 (2009), the section 'German Practice' has appeared, providing reports on German state practice Sources of international law with relevance for the development of international law.