19.11.2018 in Law
Fairness of International Law

The idea behind international law was perfect. It looked at a world that is justice and fair for all. As the implementation of the idea took root, international law has become porous and faulty. What was intended to be fair and just, has turned out to be unfair and a platform for the powerful to retain power and maintain status quo. International law on the surfaces appears fair and just, but the actual practice of the same is unfair, corrupt and interest-driven. From the legislation of international law, the signing and the implementation, the interests of the superpowers come first. The super powers are the determinants of what goes on in the international law. In that case, the international law works for the benefit and advantage of the powerful, while oppressing the weak. However, the international law is not all bad. In some way, it acts as a check to minimize chances of dictatorship, as well as actions of mass atrocity. Therefore, international law takes two faces, which means it can be upgraded to serve all on an equal basis. This essay will look into the international law, in relation to its fairness in practice or unfairness to some.

International law, serves most countries in the world, but only those that are signatories to it. There are some countries, which are not signatories of the international law, thus, international law can only apply upon the authorization of the Security Council. International law seeks to intervene in cases where the national law of the country or state is not sufficient to try some individuals, who have propagated mass atrocities. In most cases, such individuals are leads in those countries, thus seem to be above the national law. These are the background facts that underlie the international law. Such factors, make the law perfect, fair and just to all, if they were implemented as such. The problem comes in when the implementation and practice of the international law incline, on one side, to favor the powerful at the expense of the weak.

The international law, works in favor of the powerful, regardless of the harm, they do to the weak. The Iraq war with America started as a result of the Iraq oil mines that America wanted mined. In order to save the face of America, international law branded Iraq leader, at that time, a dictator and a terrorist. With such branding, America, as a responsible neighbor, in regard to responsibility to protect, moved its forces to Iraq for war. In the real sense, the actual reason behind the invasion was not to curb terror activities, but to secure oil mines, which the US had interest in. the international law was blind to this heinous act and it congratulated America for “dealing” with such a dictator and criminal. To make matters worse, America did not only deal with the dictatorial leader, but also killed hundreds of thousands of Iraq nationals. These were women, children, disabled people and innocent residents. The killings were termed as clearing of terrorist hidings. On the face of international law, America was dealing with terrorists based in Iraq, for the security of the neighboring nations and the world at large. On the background, the truth was different. American soldiers were killing mercilessly; killing innocent people who did not even understand the reason of the war. With the backup of the international law, America was safe. There is nothing Iraq could do or say that could change things. That way, Iraq was defeated.


International law works to empower the powerful; maintain status quo. In current years, the international law has been taking toll on African leaders, something that never happens with leaders from other regions. On a light note, the accusations facing most of the African leaders with the international law could have been termed as development or democracy, if they occurred in other places. To begin with, the United Nations intervention in Libya in 2011 left the country worse than UN found it. The UN intervened in the name of saving warring Libya from its dictatorial leader. After killing the president, UN left, leaving Libya in wounds and worse war conditions than it was when Gadhafi was alive. According to the international law, Gadhafi was financing terrorists, thus threatening world peace. However, the truth of the case was that the superpowers feared the route Gadhafi was taking would lead Africa ahead of them. Gadhafi was purchasing oil from African oil producing countries, refining it and then selling it to them without the superpowers involvement. This was a threat to the power of the superpowers. Therefore, they had to get a way of getting Gadhafi out of the equation. In order to secure the interest of the powerful and maintain status quo, the international law branded Gadhafi a terrorist financier. That way; superpowers could easily eliminate him and appear clean in the eyes of the international law.

International law works only where there powerful are to benefit. There are so many incidents and cases of mass atrocities that the international law does not intervene. Even though some would argue that such cases happen in countries which are not signatories to the international law; that is not the case. For instance, the war in Syria has claimed millions of lives, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless, yet the international law does not intervene. The perpetrators of mass atrocities in Syria are some powerful countries; therefore, the international law is blind to that. In other cases, only a handful dies, and the international law is on the heels of the perpetrators. For example, the 2007 and 2008 post-election violence in Kenya saw some hundreds die and case has been on the international corridors of justice for more than five years. It is surprising that less than one thousand people can call for the efforts of the international law implementers, while millions in Syria do not.

This incident and many others that resemble it leave people wondering, is the international law for all or for the powerful?

International law to some extent serves justice to all. In the case of nuclear weapons, the international law has come up with regulations that regulate the use of nuclear weapons. Even though a country may fail to sign the international law, such laws, do not apply only on members. When the international law regulates the use of nuclear weapons, it safeguards the interest of all even generations to come. Even though there may be hitches in the implementation of such rules, they serve the interest of the majority.

International law also serves to minimize the occurrence of dictatorship resulting to mass atrocities. The fact that offenders of mass atrocities face trial and sentence in the hands of international law makes such offenders less and prevents some potential from becoming real.

In conclusion, the international law can be said to be generally unfair and unjust. The positive side of the same is minimal and without considerable support, while the negative side has unquenchable evidence condemning the practice of international law. The powerful nations in the world use international law as their weapon of defense against the weak. The powerful are above the international law, and thus use it as their asset whenever they deem right. As long as some crimes involve the powerful as the offender, the international law goes silent. When the powerful feel offended by some weak country, they engage the full force of the international law. Therefore, the international law is much of a weapon or asset of the rich and powerful to ensure status quo. The rich and powerful use international law to ensure that the weak do not wake above the poverty line. They also ensure that the leaders they like are in control of countries in which they have interest. The international law does not follow a uniform formula when administering justice. It seeks to punish the weak while reinforcing the actions of the powerful. More so, most of the powerful nations are not signatories to some portions of the international law, instead they act as custodians of the same. It is interesting that they are custodians of laws that they do not partake. When these superpowers are not signatories of certain rules, they are bound whatsoever by the rules. However, they act as the force behind the enacting of the same rules. There are very rare cases under which the international law has sought justice for the common. International law is not pursuing justice, but power for the powerful and the maintenance of the status quo. Without the international law, the powerful and rich cannot maintain status quo since the rising weak will defend their course. In the presence of the international law, the rising weak have no place to defend their course, thus it becomes simple for the powerful to maintain status quo. International justice was intended for the good of the world, but it has turned out to be for the good of the powerful. All the provisions of the international law, as well as the implementing agencies, all work for the benefits of the powerful at the expense of the rest.

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