The Subject of International Law: Striking a Delicate Balance Between Rights, Powers, and Responsibilities

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Makerere Law Journal, Volume 1, p.76-84 (2013)


Balancing Rights, International law, Powers, Responsibilities, rights


<p style="text-align: justify;"><em>The author was in his final year of law school at the time of this publication. He also holds a Dip (High Honors) <span data-scayt_word="ILI-ACLE" data-scaytid="7">ILI-ACLE</span>, <span data-scayt_word="MUK" data-scaytid="8">MUK</span>. Additionally, he represented <span data-scayt_word="Makerere" data-scaytid="9">Makerere</span> University at the 2013 African Human Rights Moot Court Competition at <span data-scayt_word="UWC-Cape" data-scaytid="10">UWC-Cape</span> Town</em>.<br />&nbsp;<br /><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: lucida sans unicode,lucida grande,sans-serif;">In all legal systems, there are a number of motivations leading to the enactment of laws that such legal systems comprise a varsity of interests that they seek to serve or protect. International law and its dynamic/controversial nature poses numerous questions right from its very existence, binding nature and enforceability, the obligations it sets forth, and the ramifications of its operation, to mention but a few. Factually speaking however, just like any other body of laws, International law brings forth rights, powers and responsibilities for its subjects. Consequently, it is these aspects that require a delicate balance in their <span data-scayt_word="operationalization" data-scaytid="11">operationalization</span> within themselves, especially bearing in mind the fact that a party can only realize its rights if the other satisfies its responsibilities. However, as Harris has rightly pointed out, it has not been until recently in 2001, that the theory of the law of state responsibility, which is very critical for the realization of this balance, was well developed.1 The position is now clearer with the adoption by the <span data-scayt_word="ILC" data-scaytid="12">ILC</span> in 2001 of the Draft Articles on the responsibility of states for International Wrongful Acts, wherein the Draft articles are presented as a combination of codification and progressive developments in this body of law. This paper therefore seeks to illustrate the inextricable balance that International law has to strike between different interests of the member countries, while at the same time ensuring its continued relevance and survival amidst the numerous global pressures.</span></span><br />&nbsp;</p>