The Character of International Law: A Realistic Approach

Mahir Muharemovic

University of Tuzla - Faculty of Law

June 21, 2012

Today's debates about the international law are the result of the global issues that arise in the globalized era. Never before states were so interdependent than today. Such dependency produces great new opportunities, innovations and new markets but fuels also new potential tensions or, even, conflicts between states. Therefore, some scholars of international law emphasize the importance of the international legal system. But, can we really speak of international law as a real existing law? Are we not speaking about an ideal rather than of a functioning international legal order in the light of the immense examples of non-compliance with that legal order? On the other hand, do we expect too much from international law because of its obvious limits?

This analysis aims to provide sufficient answers to these burning questions. To do so, we shall begin this analysis by 'drawing' a clear picture of the system of the international law. Like every legal system, international law possesses its actors and its sources. Thus, the main assumptions are to be the importance of power and interests in inter-state relations. From this perspective, we can raise and discuss the question of the character of international law in the sense of its real sources and ways of functioning. In doing so, we will come to the inevitable conclusion that international law has its factual limits, as every legal system, who are based on the endowed power of states.

As mentioned above, the international law should be examined on its very core and 'freed' of doctrinism by 'removing' the false assumptions of a nature law based system and by showing its real face, a face that is focused on interests within the framework of 'Realpolitik', which is represented in the international law.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 10

Keywords: international law, international relations, sovereignty, power, factual situation

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Date posted: June 21, 2012 ; Last revised: February 19, 2014

Suggested Citation

Muharemovic, Mahir, The Character of International Law: A Realistic Approach (June 21, 2012). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2088735 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2088735

Contact Information

Mahir Muharemovic (Contact Author)
University of Tuzla - Faculty of Law ( email )
Bosnia and Herzegovina
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