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• At the end of the course, students must be able to :
• 1. Identify the general principles of public international law. (C1, P1,
• 2. Analyse various problems that arise in the major areas of
international law. (C4)
• 3. Apply the legal principles to the factual situation. (C3)
• 4. Explain the ways in which the principles of public international
law are applied in contemporary issues in international law. (C2)
• This course introduces the principles of public
international law and presents the essential
elements of the international legal system
through a range of topics and to address
international law from a variety of perspectives.
• This course promotes the development for critical
thinking and problem-solving skills, values, ethics
and moral professionalism in the area of public
1. Nature of International Law
• 1.1.Definition of international law
• 1.2.Whether international law is law
• 1.3.Historical evolution of international law
• 1.4.International law and municipal law
2. Sources of International Law
Article 38 of the Statute of the ICJ
– Customary international law
– General principles of law recognized by civilized
– Judicial decisions and juristic writings
– Other sources
3. Law of Treaties
– Classification of treaties
– Formalities and the making of treaties
– Unilateral acts
– Reservation of treaties
– Objection to reservation
– Interpretation of treaties
– Termination of treaties
4. Subjects of International Law
• International personality
• Criteria of statehood
– constitutive theory
– Declaratory theory
• Other subjects of international law
– International organization
– Liberation movement and insurgent group
5. Territorial Sovereignty
• 5.1 Occupation
• 5.2 Prescription
• 5.3 Cession
• 5.4 Conquest
• 5.5 Accretion
• 5.6 The right of self determination
• 5.7 Antarctica
• 7.1 Sovereign Immunity
• 7.1.1 Public act
• 7.1.2 Private act
• 7.2 Diplomatic immunity
• 7.2.1 Inviolability of person
• 7.2.2 Inviolability of property
• 7.2.3 Immunity of members of the diplomatic
• 7.3 Immunity of consular
8. State Responsibility
• 8.1 What is State Responsibility
• 8.2 The International Law Commission Draft
Articles on State Responsibilities 2001
• 8.3 Attribution of conduct
• 8.4 Circumstances precluding wrongfulness
• 8.5 Legal consequences of Internationally
• 8.6 Countermeasures
9. Diplomatic protection
• 9.1 The International Law Commission Draft
Articles on Diplomatic Protection 2004
• 9.2 Nationality
• 9.3 Exhaustion of Local Remedies
• 9.4 The treatment of aliens
• 9.5 Expropriation of property belongs to
• Case study/ Problem-based learning
• Active Learning
• a. Continuous Assessments
Assignment: 20 %
• b. Final Examination
Covering the whole syllabus : 70 %
• Total: 100 %
• (The latest edition of the following)
– Dr. Tunku Intan Mainura Tunku Makmar Nizamuddin, Selected International Treaties for Public International
Law Students (Malaysia: Lexis Nexus, 2013) (Allowed to be brought into Exam Hall – Original Only:
Photocopy/Duplicate are not allowed)
– Tunku Sofiah Jewa, Public International Law, (Malaysia: Pacifica Publication, 2nd edn, 2012)
– M. Shaw, International Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 5th edn., 2004)
– I. Brownlie, Principles of Public International Law, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 6th edn., 2003).
– R. Higgins, Problems and Process: International Law and How We Use It (Oxford: Oxford University Press,
– D.J Harris, Cases and Materials on International Law (Sweet & Maxwell)
– O’Brien, John, International Law (Cavendish Publishing, 2001)
– Cassese, A. International Law (Oxford University Press, 2005)
• Charter of the United Nations
• Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties 1969
• Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961
• Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
• International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
• Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts 2001
• The Statute of the International Court of Justice
• (All these treaties can be found in Dr. Tunku Intan Mainura Tunku Makmar Nizamuddin, Selected
International Treaties for Public International Law Students (Malaysia: Lexis Nexus, 2013) .
How To Study Public International Law
• PIL is a unique species of law and as such creates
problems for students more familiar with the
functioning of conventional forms of law.
• Although analogies in content do exist, PIL is
unlike the law of tort or the law of contract. In
particular, PIL lacks a coherent and
comprehensive body of judicial doctrine and does
not operate in terms of the doctrine of
• Its unconventional and problematic nature are
elements which are inherent in the
functioning of the legal system itself.
• Students studying PIL have no alternative but
to address these problems and acquire skills
and techniques which vary considerably from
those used in the study of other areas of law.
• PIL often cannot be explained without a basic
knowledge of contemporary world politics.
• The development of this subject is
fundamentally dependent upon surrounding
• Many students confronted with the application of rules
of international law have difficulty ascertaining the
exact nature of applicable rules. The proper
application of rules to factual situations in international
relations is an acquired skill in itself.
• In this regard, the particular methodology used in
approaching problems of international law becomes
acutely important. Different skills must be developed
to accommodate the fact that international law
operates at the interface of law and politics.
• In order to fully understand the subject of international law,
it is important to acquire a comprehensive and overall
framework of the subject and to understand how the
different areas of the law relate to each other.
• International law is characterised by an extensive
overlapping in topics. Points brought up in one topic, such
as the sources of international law or the use of force by
states, continuously recur throughout other area of the
subject. This is to be anticipated since international law is a
dynamic and complex subject. An overall general
knowledge of each individual subject matter will ultimately
facilitate the acquisition of an extensive and detailed
knowledge of each individual subject matter.
• Once the basic skills and methodology have
been acquired in approaching problems
involving questions of international law, the
task of identifying and applying law to facts is
• These skills may best be acquired through a
study and appreciation of the techniques
involved in answering examination questions.
Which state shall have the jurisdiction to try this case?
• Airplane belongs to state Australia.
• Departing from state Brazil.
• Destination to state China.
• Enroute via state Denmark.
• Crime started at state Ghana.
• Crime ended at state China.
• Accused is a citizen of state Etophia.
• Victim is a citizen of state Finland.
Nature and Basis of International Law
• International law is divided into two types:
a) Public International law, and
b) private international law.
• The word ‘international law’ actually refers to ‘
Public international law’, unless its specifically
stated as ‘private international law’.
Public International Law v. Private International Law
• Public International Law governs the activities
of governments in relation to other
• Private International Law governs the
activities of individuals, corporations, and
other private entities when they cross national
“International law is the body of rule: which are
legally binding on states in their intercourse with
(Oppenheim’s International law, Ninth Edition,
vol. 1, PEACE, (ed. Sir Roberts Jennings and Sir
Arthur Watts) (Pearson Education, Universal Law
Publishing Company, 1996) ).
“International law consists of certain rules of conduct
which modern civilized states regard as being binding
on them in their mutual relations with one another
with a force comparable in nature and degree to that
binding the conscientious person to obey the laws of
his country and which they also regard as being
enforceable by appropriate means in case of
(W. E. Halls, International Law, London: Stevens and
Sons. Ltd., 1950, 8).
“Law of Nations or international law may be
defined as the body of rules and principles of
actions which are binding upon civilized states
in their relations with one another.”
• (J. L. Brierly, The Law of Nations, Edited by
Humphrey Waldock, (London: oxford
University Press, 1963).
• In Queen v. Keyn (1876), Lord Coleridge, CJ.,
“International law as the law of nations is that
collection of usages which civilized states have
agreed to observe in their dealings with one
(cited by TW Balch “Arbitration as a term of
international law” , 1915)
• In S. S. Lotus Case. PCIJ series A, No 10 (1927),
international law is defined as
“the principles which are in force between all
(cited by Verma, An Introduction to Public
International Law, 1).
• In West and Central Gold Mining Co. Ltd v. King
(1905) 2KB 91,International law was defined as
“the form of the rules accepted by civilized States
as determining their conduct towards each other
and towards each other’s subjects.”
(cited by Verma An Introduction to Public
International Law, 1).
• Starke has stated that:
“International law consists of a system of laws,
the majority of which applies to states but also
regulates activities of individuals and
international organizations when it becomes the
concern for the international community.”
(Cited by Chamara Sumanapala, International
Law: Conventions and Customs, 2010).
• Schwarzenberger defines international law as the
“body of legal rules which apply between
sovereign states and such other entities as have
been granted international law personality.”
(G. Schwarzenberger , International law, vol. 1..
(London: Stevens and Sons Ltd, 1957), 3).
“International law is the collection of rules
regulating the relations between states in the
course of their struggle and cooperation,
expressing the will of the ruling classes in
these states and protected by compulsion
carried out by states individually or
“International law is the standard of conduct,
at a given time, for the states and other
entities subject hereto”.
• International law emerges because states
found it convenient to try to regulate certain
aspects of their relations (between states and
states) in accordance with mutually accepted
rules of law.
Functions of International Law
• Law is an instrument without which people
would be unable to live together in society or in
• Law is a tool to regulate the conduct of the
individual in the states.
• Similarly under international law, the community
of states need a law in order to regulate the
relationship amongst them.
• International law, like law in general, has the
object of assuring the co-existence of different
interest, which are worthy of legal protection.
• International law has the function to protect
the subjects of international law from being
the victims of ‘unfairness’ by other subjects.
• In the Lotus case, the court held that the rule
of international law exist:
‘in order to regulate the relations between
these co-existing independent communities or
with a view to the achievement of common
Is international law, law?
• John Austin states that, before a rule can become ‘law’,
it should posses the following characteristics:
a) It should be in the form of order.
b) The order should be from a superior to an inferior.
c) The order should be backed by sanction (there
must be a threat).
• Austin submission:
International law is NOT law.
• Reason: In international law, there is no world
Parliament to issue orders and it has no police
force to enforce any regulations.
• Therefore he concludes that international law
should be regarded as ‘international morality’.
• Sir Fredrick Pollock disagrees with Austin’s view.
a) Doctrines of international law are founded on
legal ideas, not merely on ethical ideas.
b) ‘international morality’ refers to ‘international
comity’ or ‘international goodwill’. Thus
different from international law.
• Malaysian Perspective:
Government of Malaysia does regard
international law as law.
During the opening of the Malaysian Parliament
few days before Malaysian was admitted as
member of United Nations, Malaysia’s King
declares that Malaysia intends to play its part in
the works of many international bodies which
operates under the auspices of United Nations.
• Application of international law to ever changing situations in the world
has resulted in continuous restructuring of law.
• With significant developments relating to the establishment of
international institutions and organizations after World War II, the scope
of international law has also changed.
• Now the international law is said to govern the relations between states
and international organizations and between international organizations
and private persons.
• A more contemporary definition therefore expands the traditional notions
of international law to confer rights and obligations on intergovernmental
international organizations and even on individuals, such as given by Prof.
J. G. Starke, and Schwarzenbergers.