International Law, Treaties, Conventions, United Nation Organisation (UNO) And Other International Organisation

International Law

I. Basis and Nature

-International Law is composed of the laws, rules, and principles of general application that deal with the conduct of nation-states and international organizations among themselves as well as the relationships between nation-states and international organizations with persons, whether natural or juridical.

-Bentham,“first coined the modern term‘International Law’ in 1789. Previously known as ‘Laws of Nations.

-Principle behind International Law is ‘Sovereign Equality among nations’.

-Public International Law and Private International Law are two branches of International Law.

Public International Law And Private International Law

-The main theories as to the basis of International Law are (1) Law of Nature; and (2) Positivism. Some other theories in connection are: (1) Theory of Consent; (2) Auto limitation theory; (3) Pacta Sunt Servanda etc.

-According to Oppen heim “Law of Nations or international law is the name for the body of customary law and conventional rules which are considered binding by civilized states in their intercourse with each other.”

II. Sources of International Law

Sources of International law mean those origins from where it attains its authority and coercive agency. According to the provisions of the Statute of International Court of Justice there are following sources, on the basis of which Court can decide a case:

a) International Conventions

b) International Customs

c) General Principles of Law recognized by civilized Nations

d) Judicial Decisions and Juristic work

e) Decisions of the organs of International Institutions

f) Treaties

(Imp)Treaties are the most important sources of International Law. Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice talks about ‘International Conventions’ as the first source of International Law

III. Principle of Pacta Sunt Servanda

It means that the treaty or contract between the states must be honoured.

IV. Customs

An observed custom could be derived from the law of nature or mutual consent and is extremely fluid. Custom  is usually derived by sifting through many layers and evidences of state practice and opinion juris. Many other sources such as unsigned treaties and United Nations declarations have been included to identify and cover more and more customs and practices in the internationaldomain.

International Court of Justice (ICJ) decisions Article 59 of the Statute of the ICJ states that decisions of the ICJ have no binding force except on the parties to the dispute, however the ICJ tends to examine its previous decisions, determine which cases should not be applied and rarely departs from the relevant case law. There are many who feel a departure from the current system is necessary as these are outdated. However, and for the time being, these are the prevalent sources for the purpose of international law.

V. Recognition

Recognition of state means acknowledging that the political entity recognized has important attributes of statehood.

Two main theories are 1) Constitutive theory 2) Declaratory theory.

Modes of recognition are 1) De facto 2) De jure recognition.

VI. Succession

Succession means creation or transferring a new state. Mainly two kinds of succession are i) Universal; and ii) Partial Succession. Universal succession is more absolute kind while partial succession is mere claim.

VII. Universal Declaration of Human Right

International Human Rights pose a variety of question under the framework of international law. There are various problems related to enforcement and sanctions with regards to human rights. The Second World War had a profound impact on the development of human rights law as there was a need for a system to give rise to protection of human rights. This led to a wide spurt of activism and literature on the same. We will quickly look into some of the key conventions and treaties promoting and protecting Human Rights in the international sphere.

Article 4 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (“ICCPR”) states that there are certain rights such as the right to life, freedom of thought, prohibition of slavery, etc. that are said to be non-derogable and constitute a special place in the hierarchy of rights. Also, there are certain rights that have also entered the framework of customary international law like the prohibition of torture, genocide and slavery and the principles of non-discrimination. These have become certain inalienable rights that do not require any specific treaty to be given effect to.

One of the most influential documents in this regard is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which deals with various provisions, a few of them being:

  • Liberty of a person (Article 3)
  • Equality before law (Article 7)
  • Prohibitions on torture (Article 5)
  • Socio-economic rights such as right to work and equal pay (Article 23)
  • Right to social security (Article 25)

While it is not a binding document, per se, there have been many instances where it has been referred to by cases of the International Court of Justice and is an extremely important document for the purpose of international human rights.

Another such arrangement was The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (1993). It emphasized that all human rights were universal, indivisible, inter- dependent and interrelated. This led to the creation of the post of the UN High Commissioner for Human rights who would principally be responsible for UN human rights activities. The High Commissioner can make recommendations to other UN bodies and can also coordinate between them

There are several other key legislations and arrangements such as the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial  Discrimination which read with provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights give rise to a host of enforceable rights in both treaty and customary international law.

There are various bodies such as the Commission on Human Rights, which is known as the Human Rights Council since 2006 (Imp).It looks into matters of human rights issues. However, it has faced criticisms on its political selectivity and failure to objectively review the issues in certain countries. The Human Right Council is continuing the work of the previously set up Commission by broadening its framework by spreading its area over a wider framework.

Generally human rights violations are dealt with by the state in which they occur. However, there are certain human rights, established under treaty that may constitute ergaomnes obligations for the state parties. This means that there are some violations that are so grave, that any state may take action against such crimes, regardless of whether they occurred in their jurisdiction or not. All states have a shared interest in elimination of such grave violations. This is one of the most empowering features of international human rights law where it does away with the borders and limitations of a domestic body and allows the international community to also seek an active role to protect the rights of citizens of other countries.

Given the primacy of human rights even in domestic legislatures all over the world, it is almost no surprise that international human rights law is possibly given such a high degree of importance in the world of international law.

Human rights day is observed on 10thDecember every year.

Modern Context of Human Right (Magna Carta)

The modern concept of human rights emerged from the Western politics and philosophy. The English legal documents of Magna Carta of 1215 and The (English Bill of Rights of 1689 are some of the earliest examples of the human rights laws. The Magna Carta of 1215 was an agreement between the English King John and the barons who were unhappy about the taxation policies of the Monarch. The Magna Carta included clauses in the form of rights language; it granted the barons the right to legal trial and prevented their arrest or imprisonment or outlawing or abuse or denial of ownership of property without legal trial.

Important Treaties and Conventions 

A Treaty/International Convention/Charters refers to legally binding, written, agreements in which states agree to act in a particular manner as specified in the agreement. Treaties are often complex documents, particularly with regards to those involving more than two parties as they are binding upon them and are to be entered in to in good faith. Agreements which are between different nations but without the intention of creating binding obligations are not considered treaties, however they may have political effects. A treaty need not be one consolidated document but may consist of more than one relateddocuments.

Treaties may be drafted between states by their leaders or government departments depending on the circumstances. However there are a number of stages that are involved in order to convert a final draft into a binding treaty. The final text has to be ‘adopted’ in an international conference by way of two-thirds majority. A state may express its consent to be bound by a particular treaty in certain cases, the most common of which are:

Consent by signature:- In certain cases, treaties may be given force by way of signatures of representatives who have been given the full powers, i.e. authorization in writing from their state to be able to take decisions on its behalf.

Consent by exchange of Instruments: – In some scenarios, consent may be recorded by way of exchanging certain instruments, i.e. documents which contain the terms agreed to by both sides, when these instruments provide that on such exchange they will be in effect.

Consent by Ratification: – Ratification is simply understood to be the act by which a State establishes its consent to be bound by a treaty on the international plane. This was initiated as a measure to ensure that the representative who signed a treaty had due authority, by seeing whether the state agrees to ‘ratify’ the same. Ratification differs from country to country but usually requires a sign that the state consents to follow the provisions of the treaty i.e. could be assent by the President of the State or require a vote of a majority in the legislature. In multilateral treaties, involving a number of countries, ratification is usually the most preferred method of expressing assent where one party collects the ratification of the others.

1. Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations:- 

– Signed in :-1961

– Location :- Vienna,Austria

– Signatories:- 60

  • India is neither a Signatory nor has it ratified the Vienna Convention
  • Objective

It is an international treaty that defines a framework for diplomatic relations between independent countries. It specifies the privileges of a diplomatic mission that enable diplomats to perform their function without fear of coercion or harassment by the host country. This forms the legal  basis for diplomatic immunity.

  • Vienna Convention in news Recently

A day after two officials of the High Commission of India (HCI) in Islamabad were detained by police in the capital of Pakistan for more than 10 hours, New Delhi accused the government of the neighboring country of “egregious violation” of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

Pakistan completely dismisses allegations of any violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations by the officials of the High Commission for Pakistan in New Delhi and reiterates that they always function within the parameters of international law and diplomatic norms.

2. Geneva Conventions:- (See Finology Legal Video :-

  • First Geneva Convention: (Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded in Armies in the Field), held on1864.

– Signed in :-1864


This convention provide for immunity from capture and destruction of all establishments for the treatment of wounded and sick soldiers, impartial reception and treatment of all combatants, protection of civilian as providing aid to the wounded and recognition of the Red Cross symbol as  a means of identifying persons and equipment covered by the agreement.

  • Second Geneva Convention: (for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea), held on 1906. It replaces the first convention.

– Signed in :-1906


It extended the principles from the First Geneva Convention of 1864 on the treatment of battlefield casualties that happened at sea.

  •  Third Geneva Convention: (relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War), held on 1929.

– Signed in :-1929


This convention says that a prisoner of war has certain right

India is party to the 1949 Geneva Conventions and several weapons treaties but not the 1977 Additional Protocols. In the human rights field, it is party to many major treaties but not the 1994 UN Convention against Torture.

  • Fourth Geneva Convention: (relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War), held on 1949.

– Signed in :-1949


When there is a war, the people who do not take part in the war (they are called civilians) must be protected in some ways. This convention says how to do it.

  • Geneva Convention in news Recently

– After the Galwan (India-China) clash in Ladakh in June 2020, the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) urged both the Indian and Chinese governments that they observe the Geneva Conventions to which both countries are signatories.

– Pulwaman attack of 14th February 2019, Air strikes were carried out by India in Pakistani territory on dawn of 26th February. Next day, Pakistani fighter jets breached LoC in retaliation, who were engaged by Indian war jets. An Indian warplane while chasing away Pakistani planes entered in Pakistani airspace and was shot down by Pakistan. The pilot (Abhinandan Varthaman) has been arrested, who remains in Pakistani custody. Pakistan is in violation of Geneva Convention’s rules on prisoners of war.

 3. Indus Water Treaty (1960):- (See Finology Legal Video :-

  • The Indus Waters Treaty was signed on September 19, 1960 by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan’s President Ayub Khan.
  • It was brokered by the World Bank.
  • The treaty administers how river Indus and its tributaries that flow in both the countries will be utilized.
  • According to the treaty, Beas, Ravi and Sutlej are to be governed by India, while, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum are to be taken care by Pakistan.
  • However, since Indus flows from India, the country is allowed to use 20 per cent of its water for irrigation, power generation and transport purposes.
  • A Permanent Indus Commission was set up as a bilateral commission to implement and manage the Treaty. The Commission solves disputes arising over water sharing.
  • The Treaty also provides arbitration mechanism to solve disputes amicably.
  • Though Indus originates from Tibet, China has been kept out of the Treaty. If China decides to stop or change the flow of the river, it will affect both India and Pakistan.
  • Climate change is causing melting of ice in Tibetan plateau, which scientists believe will affect the river infuture.
  • It may be noted that both India and Pakistan are still at loggerheads over various issues since Partition, but there has been no fight over water after the Treaty was ratified.

4. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948):-

Objective: – All participating countries are advised to prevent and punish actions of genocide (the deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim of destroying that nation or group) in war and in peacetime.

5. North Atlantic Treaty (1949):- The treaty was signed in Washington, D.C. on 4 April 1949

Objective: – It’s purpose is to safeguard the freedom and security of all its members by political and military means. Collective defense is at the heart of Solidarity and Cohesion among its members Recent News: – Donald Trump is threatening to withdraw the US from NATO. While the French President Emmanuel Macron has called it “brain dead”. So, Chairman Cozier asks if the 70 year alliance can survive.

6. Bretton Woods Agreement (1944):– The Bretton Woods agreement was created in a 1944 conference of all of the World War II allied nations. It took place in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire,USA.

  • Objective:-

The Bretton Woods Conference led to the establishment of the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the IBRD (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (now the World Bank)), which still remain powerful forces in the world economy as of the 2020s.

It provides rules for Financial and Commercial relations among the major Industrial State.

  • Recently in News:-

Long discussions were taken place before the G20 Summit that IMF will favored new Bretton woods Pact for financial stability. But the IMF Chief clearly states that such Summit will not led to Bretton wood agreement.

7. Paris Convention (1883):-It is for the Protection of Industry Property or Intellectual Property Right.

The United Nations Organisation and Other International Organisations 


Untied NationsThe United Nations (UN) is an international organization founded in 1945. It is currently made up of 193 Member States (including India since 1945).

Its mission and work guided by the purposes and principles contained in its founding Charter and implemented by its various organs and specialised agencies.

Its activities include maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, promoting sustainable development and upholding international law.


> The General Secretary of United Nation is Antonio Guterrus. He is from Portugal

The main organs of the UN are

1. The General Assembly,

2. The Security Council,

3. The Economic and Social Council,

4. The Trusteeship Council,

5. The International Court of Justice,

6. And The UN Secretariat.

All the 6 were established in 1945 when the UN was founded.

Dispute Resolution 

In the domestic scenario disputes may be resolved by way of various methods by way of application to court, mediation, conciliation or even arbitration. In international law there may be disputes regarding a large number of issues relating to treaties or some basic covenants of international law. In the event such disputes arise between states or even between individuals and the state, there are certain institutions and mechanisms in place to resolve such disputes.

  • International Court of Justice

The International Court of Justice (‘ICJ’) is termed as the main judicial branch of the United Nations. In 1946, the General Assembly of the United Nations enacted the Statute of the ICJ which gave rise to the institution of the International Court of Justice at The Hague, Netherlands. All members of the UN are party to this statute, by default owing to Article 93 of the United Nations Charter, and non-members may also become parties under this Article. It consists of 15 judges who are elected by General assembly.

The court may have jurisdiction to decide cases in which the parties agree to appear before the court, on their own behest, and agree to be bound by the decision of the ICJ. The court may also be a forum if provided for in a treaty between parties and in certain cases it is compulsory to refer to the court with regards to certain disputes. All United Nations members are the members of the International Court of Justice.

The court may also give advisory opinions under Articles 65-68 of the Statute of the ICJ to countries. These are not binding but are merely referrals to the ICJ to understand the point of law on the matter. The statute of I.C.J. is same as the permanent court of International Justice(Under the League of Nations) when parties are agreeable to settle them on their own accord.

  • International Criminal Court

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is a tribunal set up through the Rome Statute in 2002 (Imp)with the purpose of prosecuting criminals for 4 major crimes:International Criminal Court

– Crimes against Humanity

– Genocide

– War Crimes

– Crime of Aggression

The ICC may prosecute criminals for crimes committed in a country which accepts the jurisdiction of the court. Thus, only if countries agree to submit to the jurisdiction can the ICC take up certain cases in which the person who has committed the crime is a national of the country or if it was committed in the territory of that country. The cases may be referred by the country directly to the ICJ or though the Prosecutor of the ICC, who is the person appointed to try cases on behalf of the ICC.

  • Other Dispute Resolution Mechanism

It often the treaties entered into by the States themselves lay down the procedure to be followed in case of a dispute. For instance, the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs provides for a dispute resolution panel within its own provisions. Treaties often employ mediation, arbitration and other such dispute resolution mechanisms to arrive at an agreeable decision. The United Nations has even created its own forum to deal with issues related to investment disputes in association with the World Bank.


There are 15 specialised agencies related to UN which are as follows:-

S.No Name of Agency Abbreviation Year of Establishment Headquarters
1. International Labour Organisation ILO 1946 (1919 Established as autonomous institution) Geneva
2. International Telecommunication Union ITU Not Important Geneva
3. World Health Organisation WHO 1948 Geneva
4. World Intellectual Property Organisation WIPO Not Important Geneva
5. World Meteorological Organisation WMO Not Important Geneva
6. International Fund for Agriculture Development IFAD Not Important Rome
7. Food and Agriculture Organisation FAO 1945 Rome
8. Universal Postal Union UPU Not Important Berne
9. International Maritime Organization IMO Not Important London
10. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO Not Important Paris
11. United Nations Industrial Development Organization UNIDO Not Important Vienna
12. United Nations World Tourism Organization UNWTO Not Important Madrid
13. International Civil Aviation Organisation ICAO Not Important Montreal
14. International Monetary Fund IMF 1945 (Important) Washington
15. World Bank Group
– International Bank for Reconstruction andDevelopment IBRD Not Important Washington
– International Development Association  


Not Important Washington
– International Finance Corporation  


Not Important Washington
-Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency  



Not Important



– International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes ICSID Not Important Washington


In addition to specialised agencies, there are various United Nations programmes and funds devoted to achieving economic and social progress in developing countries:-

S.No Programme/Funds Abbreviation Headquarters
1. United Nations Development Programme UNDP New York, USA
2. United Nations Population Fund UNFPA New York, USA
3. United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund UNICEF New York, USA
4. United Nations Environment Programme UNEP Nairobi, Kenya
5. United Nations Human Settlements Programme UN-Habitat Nairobi, Kenya
6. World Food Programme UN-WFP Rome, Italy

Detailed Discussion of Some Important International Institution

  • International Labour Organization(ILO)

It was set up post the First World War as a part of the Treaty of Versailles, in 1919 to achieve social justice. It was aimed at improving the conditions of labour in various countries in the world to help achieve humane conditions  for such labourers by providing for various regulations and agreements on the conditions of labourers. The Director General is the head of ILO. At present the ILO has 185 members.

  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was founded in 1945 to develop the “intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind” as a means of building lasting peace. It is located in Paris (France). In this spirit, UNESCO develops educational tools to help people live as global citizens free of hate and intolerance. By promoting cultural heritage and the equal dignity of all cultures, UNESCO strengthens bonds among nations.

  • World Bank and the International Monetary Fund(IMF)

The World Bank was instituted as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD-the World Bank) and along with the IMF were dubbed the Bretton Woods Twins in 1944. These two sister institutions were started in order to aid the economies of various nations which had suffered immense losses subsequent to the Second World War. The World Bank aids member states by providing loans to member states for the purpose development and raises its funds by way of the world’s financial markets.

  • World Health Organization (WHO)

The WHO was formulated in 1948 to set up an agency that would move towards aiding member states with regards to health concerns. WHO has been a core agency for setting up of norms and standards to be followed with regards to human health and research regarding the containment of diseases as well assessing worldwide health trends. It coordinates with various agencies in different countries to facilitate greater knowledge and awareness of health issues in various countries. These organizations, and their counterparts, are aimed to promote international cooperation between member states on a large number of issues from rights of labourers, redevelopment of countries and economies as well as monitoring health trends across the world.

After the end of the Second World War, these institutions have flourished and provided exceptional coordination among various departments of governmental and non-governmental organizations to fulfill their goals.

  • Red Cross

Established in 1864 by Jean Henri Durant. An international conference took place in Geneva, (Switzerland) in 1864 where 26 governments were represented. The conference led to the Geneva Convention and the emblem motto of Red Cross was adopted.

World Red Cross Day and Red Crescent day is celebrated on May 8, the birthday of its founder, Henri Durant. The Organisation was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1917, 1944, and 1963.

  • World Trade Organisation(WTO)

Established on January 1, 1995 replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) . It has come into effect with the backing of at least 85 founding members, including India. The World Trade Organization is an intergovernmental organization that is concerned with the regulation of international trade between nations.


October 24 is celebrated as UN day every year.

– Official Languages of UN are:-

English, French, Chinese, Russian, Arabic and Spanish. But the working languages are English and French Only.

– The Security Council is Composed of 15 Members: 5 (Permanent Members) and 10 (NonPermanent Members) elected for 2 year terms by General Assembly.

– Five Permanent Members are 1. China, 2. France, 3. Russian Federation, 4. UK, 5. US.

Some Important Past Exam Points

1. United Nation’s International Years (2021): International year of peace and trust; International year of creative Economy for Sustainable development; International year of Fruits & Vegetables.

2. Only 53 (Former British Colonies) are become part of Commonwealth (Headquarter: London, England)

3. The first African to become the Secretary General of United Nations was Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

4. The Secretary General is the Chief administrative office of UN. He is elected by General assembly on recommendation of the Security Council.

5. UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) Head quarter is in New York has Child Welfare as it primary goal.

6. India is not the member of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

7. The term of office of Judge of the International Court of Justice is 9 Years.

8. Only States can be the Parties to a case before the International Court of Justice.

9. The Maastrich Treaty is for Common European Union.

10. INTERPOL, a 190-nation Police Commission, has its Headquarters at Lyons.

11. The first ever woman Secretary-General of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) Ms. Fathimath Dhiyana Saeed was from Maldives. The Secretariat of SAARC is located in Kathmandu.

12. The Headquarter of International Court of Justice is situated at The Huge. 

13. United Nations Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution against Sri Lanka for war crimes.

14. Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Security Council can take enforcement actions.

15. Each member of the Security Council has one Vote. Decisions on Procedural matters are taken by 9 members. Here veto does not apply. On all matters, there must be nine affirmative votes including those of permanent members.

16. It has been the practice to have an European as the managing director of the IMF (International Monetary Fund).

17. NATO (North Atlantic Treaty) is the international Organisations does India disapprove of.

18. The headquarter of European Union is situated in Belgium.

19. Economic and Social Council of the United Nation Organisation consist of 54 members.

20. 27 states are there in the European Union.

21. The United Nations University (UNU) is at Tokyo (Japan).

22. International Bank of Reconstruction and Development is popularly called the “World Bank”.

23. The International Criminal Court does not have jurisdiction with respect to Crime of Terrorism.

24. United Nation Day is celebrated on 24th October.

25. Justice Dalvir Bhandari is an Indian Judge in the International Court of Justice. Member of the court Since 27 April 2012, re-elected as from 6 February 2018.


The main purpose of these draft is to coverd some important topics of International Law at the level of CSEET entrance, LLB entrance and CLAT entrance.  These draft is prepared from refering various sources. The sole purpose of these draft to cover each and everything.

Sources:- Singhal’s, Finology, Quora.

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