INTERNATIONAL LAW & SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONES
International law is set of rules
generally regarded and accepted as binding principle relations between
states/nations. It serves as a framework for the practice of stable and
organized international relations. In other words, international law is a set of
legal principles, rules, regulation or any code of law that is mutually
acceptable to two or more nations collectively, and are willing to bind
themselves is such legal relation.
There are two traditional branches of
internationals law are:
1- Jus Gentium - Law of
Nations, these are such set of rules that a country has adopted and sometime
legislated under domestic laws. These international rules and regulations are
observed by the country irrespective of any treaty or agreement between
nations. Example, government policies of international trade and economy, war
codes, domestic legislations on foreign transactions etc.
2- Jus Inter Gentes -
Agreements between nations, are express and explicit understandings between
nations by formation of an international agreement, treaty, referendum, code or
any other binding document. Example, trade agreements, extradition treaties
Essentials to International Law:-
 Agreement between Nations:
International Law is an out-fall of
agreements between nations, where nations are willing to agree on certain terms
and conditions, subsequently abiding by it. Such agreements can be for economic
growth, defense purpose, criminal extradition, border agreements and any other
sector as deemed fit by nations.
Unlike other domestic laws in India,
International Laws are not made by the Parliament but are drafted agreements
with are mutually agreed by coding nations. In most cases international forums
like United Nations, WTO, BRICS Nations, G-8 Summit, OPEC (economic agreement),
NATO, SAARC, IMF and other similar groups provide a platform for such
 Consistency with Domestic Law:
In many legal segments, international
law has to be made in consonance with domestic law. For example, Intellectual
Property Right Laws are legislations which has to be observed bilaterally,
domestic and international, for its effective functioning and execution.
 Binding law:
International law generally is a
non-binding law. There is no legal mandate to abide by such laws as there is no
court or similar forum to punish such agreeing nations. It solely depends upon
the relations between the nations and their willingness to follow such law.
 Trials and Jurisdiction:
Some international agreements and
their violations thereof are made subject to court of a decided jurisdiction.
Nations may make themselves cognizable to certain offences/violation to court
of law as so decided by them.
International law differs from state
based legal system in that it is primarily applicable to countries rather than
to private citizen. National law may become international law when treaties
delegate national jurisdiction to supranational tribunals such as the European
court of human rights or the international criminal court. Treaties such as the
Geneva conventions may require national law to conform to respective parts.
International Law is that form of law
which relies on ‘consent based governance’ to a great extent, as states are not
ordinarily to abide by it, unless they expressly consent to particular course
of conduct, though certain aspects are expectations to the consent requirement,
such as principles of customary international law and peremptory norms.
International law can be further categorized into:
1-Public international law
2-Private international law
 Public international law– it is formed out of the relationships between nations which are
formed by treaties, executed by national heads of the state (country/nation),
which are considered the subject of international law. Norms of international
law have their source which are as follows:
(a) Custom, or customary international
law or consistent state practice accompanied by opinions of jurists (legal
heads of states).
(b) Globally accepted standards of
behavior, which are also known as Peremptory norms (jus cogens or ius
(c) Codifications contained in
conventional agreements, generally termed treaties.
The primary objective of public
international law is to provide for a framework of rules and regulations which
help in fostering stable and organized international relations. Public
international law is further classified into fields such as law of the seas,
internationals humanitarian law, the law of treaties and intellectual
 Private international law– ‘conflict of law’, often called ‘private international law’ in
civil law jurisdictions, is distinguished from public international law because
it governs conflicts between private person rather than states or other
international bodies. It concerns the question of which jurisdiction should be
permitted to hear a legal dispute between private parties of different nations,
and which jurisdiction’s law should be applied, therefore raising issues of
For example, A multi-national company
(foreign company) having its head office in a foreign country is running a
legal case in India. Therefore, the company is legally bound to proceed as per
Indian Laws and not laws of its home nation.
Today corporations are increasingly
capable of shifting capital and labor supply chains across borders, as well as
trading with overseas corporations. This increases the number of dispute of an
inter-state nature outside a unified legal framework, and raises issue of the
enforceability of standard practice.
Private International Law
versus Public International Law
Private international law
is different from public international law, as the latter is a set of rules
which governs the intercourse between nation through determining the rights and
obligations of the governments of the nation, while the former comprises of
certain rules and regulations which are established or agreed upon by private
citizen from different nation who enter into transactions and that would govern
them if a dispute were to arise; e.g. international trade.
 Supranational law- Systems of ‘supranational law’ arise when nations explicitly
cede their right to make certain judicial decisions to a common tribunal are
directly effective in each party nation and have priority over decision taken
by national court. Hence, courts are set up commonly by two or more nations,
which determines disputes arising common to such nations.
The European Union is an example of an
international treaty organization which implements a supranational legal
framework, with the European court of justice having supremacy over all members
nation courts in matter of European Union law.
INTERNATIONAL LAW OF
A treaty is an agreement under
international law entered into by nations in international law, namely
sovereign states and internationals organization, a treaty may also be known as
an (international) agreement, protocol, covenant, convention, pact, or exchange
of letters, among other terms. Regardless of terminology, all of these forms of
agreements are under international law, equally considered treaties and the
rules are the same.
The law of treaties is now set out in
the Vienna convention of 1969 on the law of treaties which contains the basic
principles of treaty law, the procedures for how treaties becoming binding and
enter into force, the consequences of a breach of treaty, and principal for
Principle of Binding-Nations
The basic principal underlying the law
of treaties is ‘pacta sunt servanda’ which means every treaty in force
is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith.
Principle of Exclusion
The other important principle is that
treaties are binding only on state parties. They are not binding on third
states without their consent. Treaties are sometimes referred to by the place
and year of adoption, e.g. the 1969 Vienna Convention. If a state becomes a
signatory to such a treaty, it is not bound by the treaty, but it undertakes an
obligation to refrain from acts the provisions of a treaty when it deposits an
instrument of accession or ratification to the official depositary of the
If a state is signatory to an
international convention but decides to become a party, it send an instrument of
accession. The general rule is that a treaty shall be interpreted in good faith
in accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to the terms of the treaty
in their context and in light of its object and purpose.
(PUBLIC INTERNATIONAL LAW)
International Law of Land
Borders are geographic boundaries of
political entities or legal jurisdictions, such as governments, sovereign
states, federated states, and other subnational entities. Borders are
established through agreements between political or social entities that
control those areas; the creation of these agreements is called boundary
delimitation. Border disputes arise when nations fail to reach an agreement and
are unable to flag positions dividing territories of respective nations.
An everyday example is the Jammu and
Kashmir issue between India-China and Pakistan. Also, the recent tiff-off at
Dokhlam Plateau between Bhutan and China; are example of unsettled border
Some borders such as a state's
internal administrative border, or inter-state borders within the Schengen Area
(European Union) are often open and completely unguarded. Other borders are
partially or fully controlled, and may be crossed legally only at designated
border checkpoints and border zones may be controlled. Thus, the relation and
the agreement between bordering nations determine the law of land.
International Border are generally
demarcations mutually accepted to nations. A nations territory and its land
rights are recognized by international law, as well as by the national legal
systems of neighboring common law and civil law countries. In customary law
jurisdictions, customary land is the predominant form of land ownership.
International Law of Sea
The United Nations convention on the
law of sea (UNCLOS), also called the Law of The Sea Convention or the Law of
The Sea Treaty, is the international agreement that resulted from the 3rd
United Nations Conference on the Law of The Sea, which took place between 1973
and 1982. The Law of The Sea Convention defines the rights and responsibility
of nation with respect to their use of the world’s oceans, establishing
guidelines for businesses, the environment and the management of marine natural
The convention which conclude in 1982,
replaced four treaties. UNCLOS came into force in 1994. About 167 countries and
the European Union have joined in the convention and it is uncertain as to what
extent the convention codifies customary international law.
Basis internationally accepted
guidelines on right over sea waters;
all water and waterways on the landward side of the baseline.
state is free to set laws, regulate use, and use any resource in water which
is within the land territory of the state.
vessels have no right of passage within internal waters
Nautical Miles (22 kms)
as part of a country, a private space of the nation. The nation is free to
decide the governance of such waters, it can impose laws, apply sanctions,
charge tax, levy fees and exercise other territorial rights.
Miles – 24 Nautical Miles
the 12-nautical-mile limit, there is a further 12 nautical miles from the
territorial sea baseline limit, the contiguous zone, in which a state can
continue to enforce laws in four specific areas: customs, taxation, immigration
state can pursue any person who violates any law in the territorial zone and
is trying to run away. This makes the contiguous zone a hot pursuit area.
Nautical Miles (370 kms)
this area, the nation has sole exploitation rights over all natural
resources. In casual use, the term may include the territorial sea and even
the continental shelf. The EEZ’s were introduced to halt the increasingly
heated clashes over fishing rights, although oil was also becoming important.
nations have the freedom of navigation and overflight, subject to the
regulation of the coastal states. Foreign states may also lay submarine pipes
and cables in such area.
Shelf (International Waters)
territorial laws apply in this zone. The water area is free for universal
use, subject to the exclusivity of use by a specific nation.
Not all countries abide by the above
rule, as international law is difficult to bind on nations. Undetermined sea
spaces are a major area of concern; for example, the recent issue of China sea,
where multiple nations are claiming their right over sea waters. The matter is
sensitive because it involves military advantage, revenue from international use
of sea space, access to oil and other natural resources.
International Law of Air
A basic principle of international air
law is that every state has complete and exclusive sovereignty over the
airspace above its territory, including its territorial sea. The principle of
airspace sovereignty in international law is probably well reflected in the
maxim, Cujus est solum ejus est usque ad coelum et ad inferos, which
means that he who owns the land owns what is above and below it.
There were initial suggestions that
air space should be available for free use for nations but the principle of
airspace sovereignty was unequivocally affirmed in the Paris Convention on the
Regulation of Aerial Navigation (1919) and subsequently affirmed in the Chicago
Convention on International Civil Aviation (1944). The basic principle applies
vertically i.e. airspace ends where outer space begins.
It follows from the principle of
airspace sovereignty that every state is entitled to regulate the entry of
foreign aircraft into its territory and that persons within its territory are
subject to its laws. States normally permit foreign aircraft to visit or fly
through their territory without too much difficulty.
In the alternative, air law is the
body of law directly or indirectly concerned with civil aviation governed by
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), but the practice of
individual states in this regard is not yet settled. International character of
air law is either ‘international law’ or ‘international uniform law’ for
commercial activity, wars or tourism purpose. Here international law means the
air rights’ agreement between nations and international uniform law means
rights which have been adopted/accepted universally by all nations.
SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONE
A special economic zone (SEZ) is an
area in which business and trade laws are different from rest of the country.
SEZ’s are located within a country’s national borders, and their aim include
increased investment, job creation and effective administration. The creation
of special economic zones by most countries are motivated by the desire to
attract foreign direct investment (FDI).
It is important to know that vide the
Government of India’s Notification dated January 15, 1976 an exclusive economic
zone (EEZ) of India in ocean waters has been created up to a distance of 200
nautical miles from the coastline.
LAW ON OUTER SPACE
Outer space also known as Space, is
the near-vacuum between celestial bodies. It is where everything; all of the
planets, stars, galaxies and other objects is found. In lay terms it can be
said that the law that governs the use of celestial resources and space
consumption in space is Space Law.
United Nation Office for Outer Space
According to the United Nation Office
for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), which is tasked with promoting international
cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, space law is the body of law
applicable to and governing space related activities.
The inception of the field of space
law began with the launch of the world’s first artificial satellite by Soviet
Union in October 1957. The United Nation general assembly adopts the
declaration of legal principles governing the activities of states in the
exploration and uses of outer space in 1963.
The Outer Space Treaty
The Outer Space Treaty represents the
basic legal framework of international space law. India too is a signatory to
Highlights on governance of outer
1. It bars states party to the treaty from placing weapons of mass
destruction in orbit of Earth, installing them on the Moon or any other
celestial body, or otherwise stationing them in outer space.
2. It exclusively limits the use of the Moon and other celestial
bodies to peaceful purposes and expressly prohibits their use for testing
weapons of any kind, conducting military maneuvers, or establishing military
bases, installations, and fortifications.
3. The treaty also states that the exploration of outer space shall
be done to benefit all countries and that space shall be free for exploration
and use by all the States.
4. The treaty explicitly forbids any government from claiming
ownership of a celestial resource such as the Moon or a planet.
5. The Treaty states that outer space, including the Moon and other
celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of
sovereignty, if being used or occupied by a nation.
6. The State that launches a space object retains ownership,
jurisdiction and control over that object. The member State/nation is also
liable for damages caused by their space object.
There are numerous international
bodies created by treaties adjudicating on legal issue where they may have
jurisdiction. The only one claiming universal jurisdiction is the United
Nations Security Council. Others are United Nations’ International Court of
Justice, and the International Criminal Court (when national systems have
totally failed) and the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
 United Nations Security Council
Under the Charter, the Security
Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace
and security. It has 15 Members, and each Member has one vote. Under the UN
Charter, all Member States are obligated to comply with Council decisions.
The Security Council takes the lead in
determining the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression. It
calls upon the parties to a dispute to settle it by peaceful means and
recommends methods of adjustment or terms of settlement. In some cases, the
Security Council can resort to imposing sanctions or even authorize the use of
force to maintain or restore international peace and security.
 United Nations’ International
Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice
(ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN). It was
established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations and began work in
April 1946. The seat of the Court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague,
Netherlands. Of the six principal organs of the United Nations, it is the only
one not located in New York, United States of America.
The Court’s role is to settle, in
accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and
to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized
United Nations organs and specialized agencies. The Court is composed of 15
judges, who are elected for terms of office of nine years by the United Nations
General Assembly and the Security Council. It is assisted by a Registry, its
administrative organ. Its official languages are English and French.
 International Criminal Court
The International Criminal Court (ICC) investigates and where warranted,
tries individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the
international community, which include genocide, war crimes and crimes against
The Court is participating in a global
fight to end impunity, and through international criminal justice, the Court
aims to hold those responsible accountable for their crimes and to help prevent
these crimes from happening again.
The Court cannot reach these goals alone. As a court of last
resort, it seeks to complement, not replace, national Courts. Governed by an
international treaty called the Rome Statute, the ICC is the world’s first
permanent international criminal court situated at Rome, Italy.
 Court of Arbitration for Sport
The Court of Arbitration for Sport
(CAS) is an international quasi-judicial body established to settle disputes
related to sport through arbitration. Its headquarters are in Lausanne,
Switzerland and its courts are also located in New York City and Sydney.
Temporary courts are established in current Olympic host cities.