World order is the concept of peace and regulation within all nation states of the world. The most important component of world order is a world full of peace, greater equality and freedom from suffering. However the initiative of world order is evidently an ideal. For this reason, along with the changing nature of the law and the international community, lawmakers constantly reform international law to ensure that it is effective in achieving world order.
Law reform is the changing for improvements in order to remove injustices to make the law more effective. The United Nations is the key agency for reform in international law. The General Assembly contains representatives from all the UN’s member states and is important in codifying of international law. Issues of concern are discussed which leads to conventions and treaties. Such conventions as the Geneva Convention reformed the regulation of war and humanising conflict.
This was to make implementing fundamental human rights more effective for each individual. Under this convention prisoners of war must be dealt with as humanly as possible at all times and not be put on display for propaganda purposes. This was not the case with Iraqi prisoners of war where the Geneva conventions were violated by broadcasting pictures of toured prisoners of war. Reform was necessary in this situation to improve equality and human rights.
A treaty such as the ANZUS treaty was also important in reform and maintaining world order. The multi-lateral between Australia, New Zealand and the United States in 1984 stated that the nations would help each other in the event of an attack. However it was not fully successful in ensuring that international law was effective as New Zealand withdrew after a disagreement with the United States. In regards to reforms and treaties, Australia has been important in the reform of the United Nations Human Rights Treaty. It was found that Australia’s initiatives such as more support from the Secretariat, have improved the effectiveness of the treaty to be a strong supporter of an effective human rights treaty body system.
A prevalent issue that the United Nations has aimed at addressing is the threat of terrorism. Terrorism is defined by the US Department of Defence as “the unlawful or threatened use of force or violence against individuals or property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies, often to achieve political, religious, or ideological objectives.”. The UN has various ways of addressing terrorism through many of its organs.
The United Nations’ Security Council created the Counter Terrorism Committee to help address this issue. In 2005 it was stated that they “condemn terrorism in all forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, whenever, and for whatever purposes as it constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.”
The General Assembly also tries to address terrorism by aiming to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms whilst countering terrorism. The Convention of Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism was created under the General Assembly in 1996. The International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings was also adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1997. Fundamentals aiming to prevent terrorism are evident in the United Nations Charter. These are with respect to threats and breaches of peace and acts of aggression. Australia has made a step in entrenching international conventions on terrorism in domestic law with the Anti-terror legislation passed in 2005.
However, this has not been fully effective in suppressing terrorism and achieving world order, evident with the case of Jihad Jack Thomas. The man said he “agreed to do some work” for Osama bin Laden on an interview on Four Corners. However, the Victorian Court of Appeal overturned the minimum five year sentence on the basis that the interview was inadmissible evidence. The prospect of allowing a terrorist suspect free on these terms undermines the concept of protecting citizens and aiming to make the world safe. This shows an area in need of reform so that the same mistake is not made again.
Parliaments are also key bodies for the process of law reform. They make proposals to the international community on issues of concern. The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) is a coalition of small islands and low-lying coastal countries that share similar development challenges and concerns about the environment, especially their vulnerability to the adverse effects of global climate change.
AOSIS is important in law reform in relation to concerns affecting these specific areas. It is important that parliaments come together to effect change. The Kyoto Protocol is an example of this. It is an amendment to the international treaty on climate change, assigning mandatory targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to signatory nations.
The third important agency leading to reform in international law is courts such as the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The ICJ is the main judicial organisation within the international arena. It contains fifteen judges, each from various geographical locations with it’s primary role to decide on disputes brought before it by member nations. It aims to resolve disputes before violence erupts. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an independent, permanent court that tries persons accused of the most serious crimes of international concern.
Convened in 2002 by the Hague, it is based on a treaty joined by 100 countries with 18 judges each elected by state parties for a term of up to 9 years. It resulted from reforming international law to make it more effective. Countries ratifying the treaty that created the ICC grant its authority to try their citizens for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The court can only exercise it’s jurisdiction when national courts are unwilling or unable to investigate or prosecute such crimes. For example, Sudan Hussein will most likely to be trialed in the ICC for his crimes against humanity.
Other agencies leading to reform are academic thinkers such as Paul Hewson, nicknamed Bono. In March 2002, Bono traveled to the White House for a special private meeting with President George W. Bush, who had just unveiled a $5 billion aid package for the world’s poorest countries that respect human rights. This is an example of how certain individuals are important in reform in international law and ensuring that world order is effective for societies and nation states.
There are also a myriad of non-government organisations that achieve a great deal in world order. They represent specialised groups and areas and promote their concerns. Some examples of NGO’s are Amnesty International, which is a human and political rights organisation. The International Committee of the Red Cross has been important in promoting the concept of humanitarian law.
This concept is the body of rules that protects persons who are not or no longer participating in hostilities. It is also important in limiting the methods or warfare. NGO’s are imperative in the reforming of world order and ensuring that the international law is effective, therefore, vital to world order.
The media plays a huge role in world order by generate public interest and informing the community of issues of concern. By exposing such issues, this can place pressure on governments to contend with the problem. For example the media coverage in 1999 during the East Timor crisis led to pleas of intervention by the Australian government.
There are many barriers in achieving world order including state sovereignty and self determination. Self-determination refers to the right of a group of people, usually of same ethnicity, to run their own affairs whilst state sovereignty is the right of a nation state to run their own affairs without interference from another nation state. This is evident as a barrier to effectively achieving world order in the Zimbabwe human rights crisis.
With the ruling of the Zanu PF party, the government has used tactics such as violence and starvation of citizens. The government states that this is in the best interests of the nation and with the concept of state sovereignty it is hard for the international community to intervene without undermining this principle.
Another important body in maintaining world order is HREOC (Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission). HREOC Promotes the elimination of unlawful discrimination based on race, sex, disability or age, and to promote human rights for all people. In 2001, HEROC began the National Inquiry into children in immigration detention. It was established to consider whether Australia’s immigration detention laws and its treatment of children in detention comply with the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child 1990.
The convention requires detention of children to be a measure of last resort. However, Australia’s immigration laws make the detention of unauthorised children the only resort. The inquiry also found that these children had suffered numerous and repeated breaches of human rights. For example, failure to protect mental health. Failure to provide adequate health care and education, failure to protect unaccompanied children and those with disabilities.
The scope for achieving world order is a broad one with most of the suggestions in world order being idealistic ones. In order for international law to be effective it needs to constantly and gradually change through law reform. The UN is imperative in law reform on issues such as terrorism to ensure that international law is effective in achieving world order. Parliaments makes proposals to the international community which can lead to reform whilst courts such as the ICC can deal with human rights issues that have not been effectively dealt with. Academic individuals and NGO’s are equally important in ensuring effectiveness of world order through the reform of international law.