• Legis Scriptor

Emergence of Modern International Law

Authored By- Sejal

Keyword: - International law, International organizations, Emergence of international laws, Conventions, Treaties, United Nations, World Wars.


Nowadays with the growth of international relations, we need a law to protect the interest of both the parties who will engage at the international level. To implement these laws there are International Organizations, before World War 2 there was League of Nation and then there was the UN having six bodies that perform different functions. States also engaged themselves in separate treaties and the conventions which they have to follow in the special circumstances. The modern international law is further divided into the public and private International law. There are various conventions and treaties to which India is a part and implemented in their domestic laws according to Art. 253.


International law is also known as the law of nations. This term was coined by the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham. According to Bentham's definition “international law is a collection of rules governing relations between states. The international law is different from the international comity as it means the non binding practices adopted by the states. It is the law which is the outside to the legal order of that particular state. Ex- The United Nations. The International law gave the procedure to interact and deal the subject at International level and is common for all. [1]

Types of international law:-

Public international law: - it means the laws which govern the relationship at international level whether as individual entity or a group. It includes- law of Sea, International Criminal Law and the International Humanitarian Law.

Private International law:- it means a law in which a legal jurisdiction of a case may be heard or the cases where this jurisdiction can be apply.

Supranational law: - this means a law applicable in the regional agreement where the national laws are inapplicable if they are in conflicting with the agreement.[2]

Emergence of modern international law:-

During the ancient and the medieval period the concept of International Law is not so much relevant. It was the period when the rules of maritime and kings started sending the diplomats outside or at the beginning of the 17th century. Then the small independent countries made an agreement with De jure belli ac pacis(1625) of Hugo Grotius. This was not formally accepted by the nations but consulted from time to time.

The international law started growing from World War 1 onwards when the large number of treaties were made by the states. First the Western Europe becomes its part then Asia and the other parts of the world. The United States gave the contribution by forming the laws of Neutrality. These provisions were neglected during the reign of Napoleon. But these laws are established in the Congress of Vienna. Then the Declaration of Paris comes which makes the rules for the contraband and the blockade. Then the Geneva Convention Provides more humane treatment at the time of war.

The 19th century gave so many international conventions; it ranges from the conventions on the prisoners of war, communication, protection of words and the sea life many laws regarding the women and war were made. The declaration of London makes the convention related to the prize law. The League of Nations was also made to control the situation, but as the second war broke the role of the League of Nation was declared as unsuccessful.

The effect of world wars is that no one indulges in the practice of the arbitration. And there were violations of the conventions that are already made. The states adopt new modes of warfare. After this all the countries do the Kellogg- Briand Pact which led to the formation of the United Nations, to watch the fulfillment of international laws by the states and the maintenance of the peace. After this codification for the international laws starts and the punishment for the war crimes also mentioned. [3]

The UN was established in the 1945, it has the main bodies whose functions are specifically mentioned:

1.) General Assembly

2.) Security Council

3.) Economic and Social Council

4.) Trusteeship Council

5.) International Court of Justice.

6.) Secretariat

Implementation of International law in India:-

According to the section 253 of the Indian Constitution, the parliament has power to implement the International Agreements. From this various human right laws, environment laws, Arbitration laws and trade laws were implemented in the domestic laws. India is a party to more than 160 treaties and conventions dealing with various laws like the air law, space law, and maritime laws. Examples of these treaties are: Paris Agreement, Brundtland Report, Agenda 21, World Heritage Convention, and Vienna Convention, Ramsar convention on Wetlands, Convention on International Trades in Endangered Species, Kyoto Protocol, Montreal Protocol, and Stockholm convention etc. These treaties and conventions are helpful for the Indian Domestic laws as well.

The part 3 and 4 of the Indian constitution i.e. Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles of State Policy are taken from the International conventions of ICCPR and ICESCR.


International laws are beneficial because every country indulges on the international platform. No one can live an isolation life in the same manner the single nation can’t survive without joining the international forum. There are many conventions which improve the condition of living in India as well. CEDAW (convention on elimination of the discrimination against the women) is one of the achievements from the International convention which is being implemented in the Indian domestic laws.

[1] Malcolm Shaw, International Law,,

[2] Sunil, Types of International Law,

[3] International Law: Evolution of International Law,,other%20parts%20of%20the%20world.