PUBLIC INTERNATIONAL LAW 3 RD YEAR 2 ND SEM Expectations How international law is enforced? How it affects Kenyan Legal system? What is the relation between human rights and international law? Does international law affect me as an individual ? A. THE NATURE OF INTERNATIONAL LAW Definition of international law Public International law is that body of law which is composed of the principles and rules of conduct which states feel bound to and do observe in their relations to each other. It also includes rules of law relating to the function of international institutions or organizing their relations with each other and the states and to the individuals as well as certain rules of law relating to individuals and non-state entities in so far as the rights and duties of such individuals and non-state entities are the concern of the international communities. This definition covers different developments which have qualified traditional conception of International Law as purely a system of rules and principles that are applicable to interstate relations on the basis of either state practice or international multi-lateral treaties. N/B - lately they have emerged numerous regional institutions and organizations endowed with international legal personality and are capable of entering into relations with each other and with states. Such regional institutions and organizations are governed by regional international law rules as opposed to general rules which are of universal alication. Further, there has been a general international movement to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals, the creation of new rules for punishment of persons who have committed international crimes, 1 | P a g e
environmental management and use of the sea, super adjacent airstrips and the outer space. Private international law/conflict of laws has little to do with Public International Law. Conflict of laws is that part of the private law of a country which deals with cases having a foreign element, that is to say, contact with some system of law other than that of the forum state. Such a contract may exist for instance because a contract was made or has been performed in a foreign country or because a tort was committed there or because some property was situated there, the parties to a particular case or contract are non-nationals of the forum state e.g. divorce cases Conflict of law is a necessary part of the domestic law of each country because different countries have different legal systems containing different rules while Public International Law seeks primarily to regulate relations between sovereign states amongst inter se (themselves) as well as other international law persons. N/B - in other words, Public International Law is at least in theory the same everywhere while rules of conflict of laws are different from one country to another.