Operations of International Organizations and International Law Term Paper

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Operations of International Law and Organizations

Reason MNCs have become important in International Relations and Law

International law is defined as a set of rules and customs governing the relationships among nation-states. Traditionally, nation-states are considered the principal actors of international law, however, there are an increasing number of other actors that influence the conduct of international relations. MNCs (multinational corporations), international organizations, domestic actors and individuals are increasingly influencing the conduct of international relations. Along with nation-states, MNCs are very important actors in international relations because their activities can influence the international affairs. A multinational corporation is a business entity that has sales operations and productions in several countries. In the contemporary business environment, many MNCs have immense financial resources, which are more than the annual budgets of many countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. With their huge financial resources, they have the power to influence a conduct of nation-states by sponsoring a candidate for an election and to the extent of toppling an incumbent government. An underlying conduct of MNCs in the international systems makes multinational corporations be identified as an important actor in international relations.

The MNCs are referred as a legal person because some of their conducts can affect the international peace and security. Henderson (2009) argues that MNCs have a legal personality in the international law, and the international law stipulates that all actors operating in the international systems must comply with rules laid down by the international law or face sanctions. The European countries always confer a legal personality on MNCs stating that they should be held responsible for their conducts. The issues of CSR (corporate social responsibility) make MNCs be more relevant to international relations because their business conducts can affect the international environment. The European countries, which are the leader in the institutional development and international law are always clear in this regard and affirm that compliance of MNCs is expected with respect of international CRS. Several international treaties directly impose liabilities upon the multinational corporations. The Vienna Convention for Nuclear Damage of 1963 and The International Convention for Oil Pollution Damage impose liability for a breach of these treaties and may hold MNCs responsible for various human rights abuses, which oblige MNCs to protect international environments.

2. Treaty Law as the most Important Source of International Law

A scholarly research on international law is not complete without exploring the sources of international law that regulate the states' conducts and other actors of international relations. Conventional sources of international law include international customs, judicial decisions, treaties, and scholarly writing. While many international scholars refer the court precedents and cases as the sources of international law, however, court cases and precedents are not the important sources of international law because judicial decisions have no binding forces on the subjects of international law unless the parties decide to respect them in a particular case. There is also been a great controversy about precedents, however, precedents are not formal sources of international law.

Unlike court cases and precedents that have no legal bindings on parties, treaties are the major formal sources of international law. Typically, the treaties are the international agreements, conventions, declarations, covenant, and charters that have binding force on parties. Typically, treaties are very crucial in international law because they are binding on the signatories. The Article 38 of the ICJ (International Court of Justice) accords a special importance to treaties as crucial sources of international law especially when the treaties are expressly recognized by the signatory states. In international relations, different countries have entered into bilateral or multilateral treaties to regulate a certain aspect of the conducts in international systems. Henderson…

Sources Used in Document:


Henderson, C.W. (2009). Understanding International Law. London. John Wiley & Sons.

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