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Introduction to International Law

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Chapter Summary

This chapter provides an introduction to the basic elements of the international legal system: whom it governs, how it is made, and how it relates to the internal laws of states. It also addresses issues of compliance and enforcement. The scope and content of international law is vastly greater today than it ever has been. While international law may regulate some of the actions of non-state actors, that law remains a product of express or implicit agreement among states. Treaty enforcement traditionally was done by the injured party, which could withhold benefits under the treaty, applying the principle of reciprocity. The emergence of codes of conduct and soft law" in part reflects the desire to bring them into the law-making process. The chapter discusses the reasons that may be adduced for the increasing use of non-legally binding instruments.

Keywords: international law; international legal system; soft law; treaty enforcement



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