The Rise of International Law: The Decisive Contribution of Hugo Grotius
The modern-day UN Charter relies on the rule of international law to bind states to accept the will of the Security Council. As a multilateral convention, the charter imposes a treaty obligation on its members but although sovereign governments still get to decide whether to execute UN resolutions or not, their basis in international law is not often challenged. The UN relies on two kinds of dispute resolution—the International Court of Justice, of which 65 states have accepted compulsory jurisdiction; and the arbitration powers given under the charter to the Security Council.1 The roots of this twofold division date back to antiquity and this chapter traces the emergence of the first forms of international law and the way that a key thinker in this field, Hugo Grotius, helped organize an inchoate mass of legal precedents that flowed from the courts of arbitration and shaped them into a body of international law capable of serving as the binding force behind the United Nations (UN).
KeywordsUnited Nations Security Council Dispute Resolution Hague Convention East India Company
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