(1) Law is not always made by a definite political authority:

Municipal law, according to the modern conception of law, docs not mean the command of a determinate human superior. It must partake of other elements.

It is the result of the social needs of the community. It is derived from various sources like customs, religion, judicial precedents etc. Likewise, international law is the result of the specific needs of the stales and is derived from similar sources.

(2) Law is not obeyed for fear of punishment:


The sanction behind ordinary law is not the coercive power of the state but it is public opinion instead. The same principle holds good in the case of interna­tional law.

(3) Regular international tribunals exist:

Just as we have courts for the interpretation of ordinary law, similarly international courts exist for the interpretation of international law like the International Court of Justice and the Permanent Arbitration court, etc.

Besides there are prize courts in every country to try prize cases according to international law


(4) International Law-a part of Municipal Law :

Civilized countries like the England and the U.S. A. have recognized international law as a part of the law of their land. Legislatures of these countries cannot . make law which is contrary to international law.

(5) International Law is developing into a concrete law:

It said that international law is not well defined. This is true as international law is not made by an elected legislature. But now every effort is being made to codify international law. For instance Paris conference, London conference, Brussels conference and Geneva convention were held to discuss the problems about the codification of international law.


After the first World War, League of Nations appointed codification commission and after the second world War U.N.O. established a commission for the same purpose. These conferences, conventions and commissions have made progress. They have succeeded in their efforts to codify many ripe topics of international law.

(6) International Law is being willingly adopted by the States:

International law is based on the consent of the states. It is more a matter of policy than a matter of law for them. But the means of transport and communication have already improved a lot.

They have reduced the wide world into a compact complex. Interdependence of states has increased and is ever increasing. They have to rely more and more on international law.


No assembly frames a constitution against the rules of international law. The same can be said about the heads of state. After the Second World War, Nuremberg Trials were held to try Nazi Prisoners of War.

It was said in their defence that they had obeyed the orders of Hitler but were held guilty. The same can be said about the Tokyo Trials. Many years after the war, Eichman a minister of Hitler was sentenced to death by a court for sending millions of Jews to gas chambers on the command of Hitler.

At one time President Roosevelt said, “It would be preposterous to think that international relations are governed exclusively by force; and that statement are not moved by the considerations of right and law or right and justice”.

Prof. Brierly says, “It is not the existence of a police force that makes a system of law strong and respected, but the strength of law that makes it possible for a police force to be organized”. Sir Fredrick Pollock adds, “If international law were only a kind of morality, framers of state papers concerning foreign policy would throw all their weight on moral argu­ments.


But, as a matter of fact, this is not what they do. They appeal not to the general feeling of moral Tightness, but to precedents, to treaties and to opinions of specialists. They assume the existence among statesmen and publicists of a series of legal as distinguished from moral obligations in the affairs of nations”.

Prof. Oppenheim says, “Violations of interna­tional law are certainly frequent especially during war. But the offenders always try to prove that their acts do not constitute a violation, and that they have a right to act as they do according to the law of nations, or at least that no rule of law and of nations is against acts.

The fact is that states, in breaking the law of nations, never deny its existence. But recognize its existence”. International law is thus a law, and is not limited to canons of positive morality.

(7) No negation of sovereignty of the State:


Lastly, it is pointed out that the concept of absolute sovereignty is merely an abstraction, it may be true as a pure legal theory but it is held to be inconsistent with actual practice. Sovereignty of the state does not imply that the slates cannot mutually agree to follow certain rules of conduct for common interest and well-being. Without such rules there will be separate state spheres of intensive order.

No state is self-sufficient. Hence it cannot sustain an isolated existence. The concept of absolute sovereignty of the state is, therefore, held to be a fiction by many modem political philoso­phers. Laski aptly remarks that it will be of lasting benefit if the whole concept of sovereignty is expunged from political science.

It has, therefore, to be concluded that the principles, of international law are fundamentally the same as those of municipal law. However, it differs from municipal law in one respect. It has not been able to develop a machinery of organized coercion to punish the breach of law as lies at the back of municipal law.

To that extent it is a weaker law. But law it is, since coercion is not the essence of municipal law. It is only one of its characteristics. International law is also developing this characteristic. The U.N.O. takes military action to punish the aggressor who subverts world peace and security.