Lux in Tenebris
So What is International Law?
International Law is the body of rules and general principles that nations are expected to observe in their relations with one another. Some international laws result from years of custom. Others originate in general principles of law recognised by civilised nations. Still others have been agreed to in treaties or determined by judicial decisions.
Many of the customs of international relations have existed for hundreds of years. For example, the ancient Greeks protected foreign ambassadors from mistreatment, even in wartime. For about 2000 years, nations have given ambassadors similar protection.
Treaties or contracts between countries have been in use for thousands of years. Many treaties are for trade between countries. Others are for granting reciprocal rights to citizens, such as extradition treaties.
For thousands of years, international law consisted of only customs and treaties made by two or three nations. In the 1600s, Hugo Grotius, a Dutch statesman, expressed the idea that all nations should follow certain international rules of conduct. For this idea and his writings on the subject, Grotius is often called the father of international law.
--- This issue includes contributions by ---Aldous Huxley, Bertrand Russell, George Bernard Shaw, Barbara Ward, Hugo Grotius, John Donne, Sarah Munro, Montaigne, G.D.H.Cole and many others