International Law

Evolution of International Human Rights Legislation and Law

The history of international law in regard to human rights can be seen as being belief but eventual. In essence, nations agreed to safeguard the rights of humans during periods of war in late nineteenth century by signing the convention which itself established United Nations as an institution. From then hence forth, many developments have happened which have seen humanitarian law evolve to cover many aspects of human rights.

To start with, after the Second World War, nations sought to develop human rights legal protection an act which contributed much to the earlier development of international humanitarian law. In this regard, nations around the world adopted international instruments which were geared towards protecting war victims. Such instruments included the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights in 1966 and the European Convention on Human Rights in 1950. Such conventions and agreements introduced the idea of respecting the freedoms and rights of individuals whether during periods of war or of peace (Thomas, 1997, p. 703).

In particular, three main happenings can be attributed to the development of international humanitarian law. The first of these three is the development of Law of Geneva which includes international protocols and conventions established under the International Committee of the Red Cross aegis. This development was aimed at the protection of rights of victims of war conflict. Secondly, we have the development of Hague Law which resulted as a result of Peace Conferences held in Netherlands in the earlier 1990s and which sought to deal with the permissible methods and means of wars between any conflicting states. The third development is that of UN efforts in ensuring that the freedoms and rights of individuals are at all time respected in armed conflicts and to limit the usage of certain specified weapons during such periods. In this respect, the efforts of UN can be seen in terms of the various conventions and treaties signed by nations as an assurance to protect human rights and freedoms during periods of peace or war (Thomas, 1997, p. 723).

Modalities of International Dispute Resolution

Under the International Law, there are various means of resolving conflicts between any conflicting nations. These methods include direct negotiations between the conflicting parties and with the help of a third party established through good offices. Other methods include mediation, conciliation, earlier neutral evaluations, inquiry, arbitration and judicial settlement. The most commonly used methods include mediation, negotiation, conciliation and arbitration.

Negotiation is one of the methods applied under international law to resolve conflicts and requires the parties to a conflict to negotiate for the objects or aspects of conflict in the presence of an internationally recognized third party. For example, if two parties conflict as a result of political differences, negotiation can be applied to enable the parties to share power. In essence, negotiation requires a party to fulfill some of the requirements of the other conflicting party. As such, the third party acts as the negotiator who is charged with passing the demands of one party to the other and at the same time trying to talk out of conflict each of the party involved. The parties to a conflict need not be in physical presence of each other for negotiations to take place. In so doing, the two parties reaches an agreement that finally resolve the conflict.

On the other hand, arbitration in resolving a conflict occurs when the parties to a conflict presents their conflict before a given binding tribunal such as an international tribunal in search for justice. In such a case, the tribunal is mostly required to make a number of judgment decisions in respect to the different claimants presented. Still a tribunal may be required to exercise jurisdiction over a single issue only. In essence, arbitrators act as neutral party charged with evaluating the facts presented to them and then making an informed decision aimed at resolving the existing conflict. While this is one of the commonly used modality of resolving conflicts, the judgment of an arbitrator may be binding or non-binding largely due to the concept of state sovereignty.

Another method is that of mediation which can be seen as being close to negotiation and which also require the intervention of a third party to help mediate the healing process of a conflict between two parties. Mediation process as opposed to negotiation requires the third party to help the parties to a conflict come together and discuss the pending issues. As such, mediation process requires the active involvement of the two parties under the guidance of the third party. Moreover, for mediation process to take place, the two parties or their representatives need to be in physical presence of each other and to discuss the issues of the conflict themselves (Richard, 2003, p. 67).

Finally, we have judicial settlement in which case a conflict is placed before an existing independent court such as the International Court of Justice for a decision ending the conflict to be made. In such a case, the parties to a conflict give their consent to the court which can thereafter give contentious or advisory jurisdiction regarding the conflict. Contentious jurisdiction enables the court to hear a case between two parties to a conflict with the presence of their consent while advisory jurisdiction enables such a court to give its opinions on any legal questions raised by any body acting in accordance or authorized by the UN charter.

Israel Policy of Assassination

The assassination policy adopted by Israel government has been condemned on various grounds including abuse of international war rules and human rights besides fueling further violent confrontations with Palestine leading to a situation which may be irreversible at the long run. In regard to international law which covers rules to be used during an armed conflict between two states and those relating to human rights, the Israel assassination policy goes contrary to its requirements and abuses not only human rights but also the rules set by international law.

To start with, the assassination policy adopted by Israel means that it uses excessive force as compared to that used by it counter part. Though this does not necessarily means that Palestinians have not in some instances used excessive force, Israel has been accused of employing excessive force in regard to Palestinians associated with military connections rather than employing the due process of law.

In this regard, the international law requires that a person be undertaken through the process of free trial before any judicial action can be taken against him or her. As opposed to this, Israel government and its military have embarked on assassinating Palestinians military leaders without subjecting them first to a free and fair trial. In essence, Israel routinely executes certain Palestinians extra-judicially through air strikes even on densely populated refugee camps injuring and even killing many innocent civilians (Rubenberg, 2003, p. 98).

In such situations, it violates international humanitarian law applying to armed conflicts and human rights law applicable even in the absence of laws of wars.

While on one hand there exists noticeable differences between a military personnel and a civilian, the requirements of a fair trial applies to both. Under international law, any accused person is entitled to rights against self incrimination, against conviction on the basis of an ex facto law, right to a counsel among other rights. Still, the assassination policy adopted by Israel government abuses all this rights by assassinating military personnel and injuring and killing innocent civilians such as bystanders.

Reference:

Richard Gardiner (2003). International Law. London, Longman Publishers, pp. 67

Rubenberg Cheryl (2003). The Palestinians: In Search of a Just Peace. United States, Lynne Publishers, Pp, 98

Thomas Buergenthal (1997).The Normative and Institutional Evolution of International Human Rights. Human Rights Quarterly – Vol.19, pp. 703, 723