State and its elements: law
Very broadly, law is a set of rules or norms that govern human behavior. For the purpose of this series of posts, we only consider national law and international law when we refer to a sovereign state.
- National law.
- International law.
According to the traditional view, national law is the set of rules or norms that regulates the behavior of a group of people within a territory. In other words, law is an obligation, a permission or a prohibition to do something (or not to do something). This law is created by someone (an individual, a body, an institution, representatives) for someone else (POPULATION) and is applicable within defined borders (TERRITORY).
International law has to do with rules and norms created because of the relationships between/among different sovereign states. There are other international agents in addition to sovereign states. For the purpose of this series, they are not included. For example, there are daily cases in which supranational organs or institutions create and apply law that results immediately obligatory for some sovereign states that fulfil certain criteria Some of these cases include the difference between European Union regulations and directives; the German constitution of 1949, art. 25; and the Argentinean constitution after 1994 reform, arts. 31 and 75.22; etc. As a result, law may have internal or external origin and be considered valid in both cases without altering the notion of State.
So far, we have introduced the term STATE and its classically accepted components: population, territory, government and law. All of these elements are necessary requirements for a state to exist.
The next posts will center the attention on introducing another key concept in territorial disputes: SOVEREIGNTY. Once we finish with this simple and basic introduction of the key concepts STATE (population, territory, government and law) and SOVEREIGNTY the posts will present territorial disputes individually, for example the Falkland/Malvinas islands, Crimea, Kashmir, Catalonia, Gibraltar, the Israel-Palestine difference, the South China Sea, and many others.
NOTE: This post is based on Jorge Emilio Núñez, “Territorial Disputes and State Sovereignty: International Law and Politics,” London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2020 (forthcoming)
Previous published research monograph about territorial disputes and sovereignty by the author, Jorge Emilio Núñez, “Sovereignty Conflicts and International Law and Politics: A Distributive Justice Issue,” London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2017.
NEXT POST: Sovereignty
Monday 23rd September 2019
Dr Jorge Emilio Núñez