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International Law Notes.

by: Marina Subbotina

International Law Notes. PSC 103-001

Marina Subbotina

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About this Document

Discussion notes on International Law with examples & the Mercury Agreement article.
International Politics - AH
Kimberly Weir
Class Notes
International politics, Politics, Articles, Mercury Agreement, International Law
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Marina Subbotina on Sunday April 10, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSC 103-001 at Northern Kentucky University taught by Kimberly Weir in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 10 views. For similar materials see International Politics - AH in Political Science at Northern Kentucky University.


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Date Created: 04/10/16
International Law o Roots: western influenced, since western countries are the oldest, most stabilized, and most influential.  1st came European domination, through colonization.  2nd came US domination, through power struggle during Cold War, and later became most powerful nation.  Hugo Gratus- father of Int’l Law- huge influence to negotiations and conflict resolutions. He lived during Age of Reason- where scholars began explaining the world w/basic reason. During this age Natural Law also emerged- belief that all people are born with knowledge of right and wrong. o Trends: increased over time- more actors, such as countries, corporations, inter-govn’tal agencies, non-govn’tal agencies; more contact, through interactions, conflicts, partnerships. Also, interdependence increased: need for set rules, coordination of policies (same policies to create efficiency when contacting each other on int’l level). o Issues: early lawcountries freshly out of war- so boundaries were set thencontemporary law- transnational issues based on economies, environment, human rights, etc. todaydifferences between cultures- issue of cultural relativism- trying to understand other cultures can become difficult, even with great effort. Ex: the way Muslim nations treat their women might seem like oppression, instead of personal choice. In this case, Western countries might fight for rights of Muslim women; while Muslim countries might begin feeling as if Western countries are oppressing. o Creating Int’l Law: sovereign states pursue self-interests. Most agreements are based on customs & agreements. Int’l law could be bilateral or multilateral. Could also form IGOs (Int’l Govn’t Organizations), to establish agreements & to hold up agreements/monitor adherence. Ex: Int’l Court of Justice, WTO- World Trade Organization.  Customs- common practices- ex: an unwritten agreement back in the days used to state that countries would control 3 nautical miles of the sea, off their coasts.  Agreement- formal treaties. o Int’l Law Has a Primitive Nature: is based on old customs & agreements, laws come from different entities (no 1 specific one is set in place to manage for every situation- different countries have different agreements with each other over the same issue. Ex: US might have a law limiting amount of product incoming from Russia, while have no law limiting the amount of incoming product form UK.  Issues: no overarching enforcement authority (ex: police); to pass a law a majority agreement is required=cooperation; creating/planning/gaining support/passing a law takes a long time; self-interests might act in opposition to a mutually beneficial change. o Adherence: Is Int’l law really a law? – unanswered question, since there’s no enforcement & compliance is voluntary, because sovereign states’ self-interests prevail. Ex: Russia & Crimea  UN declares vote illegal. However, most countries obey these laws most of the time, since their reputations could be on the line due to lack of compliance; there are always long-term benefits, that outweigh short term losses; complying sets precedence for cooperation, creating an effective system. o Article: Creating Int’l Law: Mercury Agreement.  Why is the Minamata Convention (agreement over mercury) important? (1) mercury exposure is highly toxic to inhale, ingest, and at skin contact. (2) mercury waste harms the environment by seeping into soil, polluting the water, poisoning animals and plants, and by climbing up the food chain through bodies of animals. 2  Location: Minamata, Japan- one of the world’s worst cases of mercury poisoning/exposure. Here, a local chemical plant caused water pollution. Sickness became known as Minamata disease.  What does Mercury Agreement regulate? Supply; trade; use; emission reduction in mining, power plants, metal production.  Why did 140+ states agree?- self-interest; uncontroversial objective due to concern of the safety of the people (an easier type of issues to agree over, since it’s a straight forward issue with a straight forward solution). This also doesn’t restrict coal burning, so the agreement is not economically straining and is relatively easy to fix. 3


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