Public International Law as a Branch of Ethics

The vital question that needs to be answered in the given context is as to whether public international law is simply a branch of ethics or the concept has a distinct legal character? The fact that must be understood here is that there exists very little divergence between the ethics and the law is it in a local or international context. In such a scenario, public international law is an institution that has strong ethical moorings and an effective and pragmatic legal character. Devoid of ethics, the public international law will be a tool serving the more powerful. Sans a legal character, public international law will be some sort of international diplomatic luxury. Hence, to be effective, the public international needs to rest on the twin pillars of ethical sanctity and legal force.
Law stands to be a rule or general principle that has significance and acceptance in a specific domain and is enforceable by an authority. Ethics pertain to the general aspects of morals and the particular moral choices to be made by an individual, community or a nation, which are not enforceable by any authority. Going by these definitions, there certainly exists a relation between ethics and the law. The power of law rests on an agreement between the individuals, institutions, and nations that they will abide by an acceptable and just code of conduct in their association and relationship with each other. Hence, law constitutes the fundamental foundation of any viable community, be it local or international. It can only sustain itself as a pragmatic institution if the involved parties abide by it and agree to respect its outcome and sanctity and respect the institutions and organizations divested with the power to enforce the law. The notion that encourages the individuals, organizations and nations to abide by and respect law is their acceptance and understanding of the fact that the institutions designed by them to enforce and administer law will do so in a just and upright manner, without resorting to any impropriety, that is in an ethical manner.

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