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International Law

  1. Jun 1, 2008 #1
    Hey guys I was wondering, is the international law mandatory or is it "more of a guidelines than actual rules" ?? What raised this question is that no one respects that law, and if it was actual rules, than why doesn't anyone get punished for it??
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 1, 2008 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    On paper, membership in the UN means you must follow applicable international laws. As a practical matter, the UN rarely enforces its own laws because in most cases, it doesn't have the power of enforcement except via war, nor a good mechanism for policing.
  4. Jun 1, 2008 #3
    As effective as a "Stop" sign at a street intersection.

    Jordan Joab.
  5. Jun 1, 2008 #4
    why doesn't anyone get punished for it??

    Ask SadMan Insane.

    Sometimes international law does work. Not as often as it should, but it's a young idea.
    It needs work and support.
  6. Jun 1, 2008 #5
    Is it?...

    well, I think the least method of punishing would be using the media and announcing clearly the violator and the violator's actions and trying to create an international opinion and pressure on the matter until the violator stops violating the law and pay for the damage.

    For example, the US Europe and China are responsible for global warming and climate change, the UN as an international organization should press those countries in every way to force them to reduce CO2 emissions - my info on this subject may not be entirely correct-.

    I think its about the money, if the UN takes a little bit of an aggressive stance on these countries, their funding might lessen which will lead to the UN not being able to pay wages. I know the language sounds naive but I'm no expert on this.
  7. Jun 1, 2008 #6
    hmm, last I checked the factors that contributed the most to increasing the effects of global warming were all due to humans.
  8. Jun 1, 2008 #7
    sorry- that's funny.

    When we get into inter-planetary law, we may see the early 21st century as the beginnings of inter-national law.
  9. Jun 1, 2008 #8


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    Staff: Mentor

    Neither of you are correct.

    Global warming which is now called "climate change" is a natural part of the earth's ever changing climate, what you are thinking of is the dispute over how much man has contributed to the effects on climate.

    China and India are both exempt from controls over C02 emmissions as part of the Kyoto protocal.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2008
  10. Jun 2, 2008 #9
    I didn't claim humans controlled or started something, but we certainly helped quite alot...

    Back to the topic, so what everyone here is saying is that international law is a lovely thing but it only exists in the perfect world we don't live in...How come the UN doesn't do anything to make sure that at least the law is considered let alone enforced?
  11. Jun 2, 2008 #10
    Because the UN is simply the sum of its member states, none of which wants to be subjected to any law but their own, for the most part.

    One way to clarify one's thinking about international law is to recall the famous quote from the Law & Order TV show: "man has only those rights he can defend." A corollary applicable to international law would be "the community of nations has only those international laws which it is willing and able to enforce." So, it's not an issue of some supranational body like the UN coming up with laws and then simply needing to do more to enforce them. The whole point is that the only source of international law is international consensus, backed by the willingness to use force. Where this occurs, there is international law. Where this is lacking, there is no international law.
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