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Evaluate the Effectiveness of the Legal System

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 9 (2248 words)
Categories: Law And Order Situation, Nation, Social Problems In Our Society, Society
Downloads: 17
Views: 5

“World order” is the term given to the balance of power among the nation states of the world. Differences between these nations can lead to a power imbalance, which affects world order. It can best be achieved through agreements between states and other international instruments that set out the ideal international standards of behavior for states on a number of issues. But conflicts arise between countries due to differences in cultural attitudes and the desire for extra territory.

In order to settle such disputes the international community has legal bodies such as the United Nations to cooperate with countries to find solutions and be a leader in settling and spreading ethical standards.

Their prime aim is to promote world order. But for society not only the autonomy of nations and the lack of enforcement power but also a range of other factors limit the effectiveness of such an organisations. Each country has its own perspective on world order and not all meets eye to eye.

But it can be argued that world order is a necessity in today’s society. There are many conflicts between majorities and minorities or nation against nation that can take many forms such as guerilla, military and nuclear warfare. An example of a military conflict was the Gulf war between Iraq and the UN lead forces concerning the occupation of Kuwait. But not all conflicts fit into the category of direct confrontation; some arise when a group ignores the needs of another or exploits them.

For example after a long civil war in 1996 when the Taliban took control of Afghanistan. Many measures severely restricted women’s rights and alienated other Afghans. Due to an imbalance of economic power further conflicts can arise such as when a third world country cannot compete with developed nations because of the lack of capital they possess. When a dominant group expands its power by taking over territory and increasing its population and its resources, it is called expansion, which affects the international power structure that can possibly threaten world order.

Even though it can be achieved through peaceful practices it mainly takes form in a conflict. In a stable global environment, interdependence, this means that nations rely upon others, can have favorable outcomes. But in an unstable world order, it can lead to conflict and the possible subjugation of weaker nations. Throughout history, local communities and indigenous people have suffered dramatically from conflict and expansion as more dominant groups have both directly and indirectly damaged their culture through the loss of customs, social structure and language.

International crimes are criminal acts that have international repercussions on people, state, peace, law and enforcement of international law. The ICC has the jurisdiction over some international crimes. Such international crimes include apartheid (South Africa), genocide (Rwanda), Crimes against humanity (Former Yugoslavia), war crimes (Kosovo), piracy and hijacking. In the international sphere, force plays an important role in maintaining law and order which are critical in the success of world order.

The use of force is seen as the most obvious way to maintain order and prevent or resolve conflicts. But it comes with such negatives as being highly expensive and costly in terms of the civilians and soldiers lost. Over the last century two world organisations have been established to prevent war and have legal authority to use force in certain circumstances. After World War One in 1920 the League of Nations was created as a place where governments could bring their disputes.

But the L of N had no automatic right to intervene and most governments didn’t agree in bringing disputes before it. With limited membership and those that were members weren’t accustomed to working together, it was flawed. It was however able to make progress in the suppression of slavery, world health, the protection and care for refugees and settling minor disputes. But once the 1930’s began it cease to have any political relevance. After the failure of the League of Nations the United Nations formed, which founded a charter that outlined its purpose and methods of achieving it’s goals.

The Un charter (1945) enshrined the idea that force or the threat of force should not be the norm in international relations. Although they were realistic enough to realise that force would sometimes be used. The UN was deliberately created as a more ambitious organisation and has six main organs: The Security Council, the General Assembly, Secretariat, the Security Council, Economic and Social Council, International Court of Justice and Trusteeship Council. Membership is based on whether the nation state is “peace loving” and willing to accept all the obligations of the UN Charter.

The Security Council consists of fifteen member states with only five permanent members, which have the power to veto majority decisions. These five permanent members are Britain, France, USA, China and Russian Federation, which reflect the dominance each has in the world order (except Russia). The UN gives the Security Council, which is responsible for international peace and security, two ways of dealing with a threat to world peace. The first involves the use of peaceful methods such as economic sanctions. The second involves the use of armed forces. Peacekeeping is defined by as: The maintenance of international peace using formed troops under UN control to prevent the outbreak or renewal of fighting or by stabilising a situation sufficiently to promote peace. ” – Butterworths Australian Legal Dictionary. The Un Peacekeepers are an assembly of a very diverse, international group of soldiers and civilians, which assists in settling disputes that restores the peace in an area. However it doesn’t constitute an army as often they are made up of doctors, nurses and pilots.

In many situations UN peacekeepers help clear landmines, train civilians and even monitor elections. For example in Namibia, the UN peacekeepers supervised a democratic election, which lead to the county’s sovereignty. The presence of peacekeepers can have positive affects such as the limit in the spread of violence in Haiti and Cyprus, but in other places they have been less successful i. e. the UN peacekeeping in Somalia in 1992. As Somalia fell into clan-based civil war, the country collapsed and the UN was unable to restore peace and eventually departed as Somalia remained in chaos.

Originally the five permanent members of the Security Council were meant to coordinate the peacekeeping forces. But in reality they are conducted outside the UN’s regular budget, where national governments deployed troops to the peacekeeping efforts. Much of the peacekeeping is done by Ireland, Sweden and Australia. Australia has contributed either military forces or police to 54 peacekeeping forces and in 1999-2000 Australia played a leading role in reestablishing order in East Timor. Australia has also conducted peacekeeping efforts outside of the UN’s operation in Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

On the other hand the UN peacekeepers are limited in their effectiveness as they can only use force in self-defense, therefore they cannot directly intervene unless they are shot at and made themselves targets of conflict. Due to the dominance of some states in the world order, there is no equal treatment between nations states, which are members of the UN. Even though the UN charter states that there must be equality, in practice it does not exist. Due to the nature of certain UN bodies it is inevitable that smaller states are marginalized.

However the situating of the United Nations in New York enables every member to sit side by side and have an immediate translation of languages, which breaks down barriers to communication. The UN has successfully raised the conscience of human rights through its conventions and the attention to specific abuses through its resolutions. But its ability to function is hampered by its financial problems as it is expected to govern the country on $8 billion per year, which is less than the amount of money the world spends on defense each week.

It is resource ineffective as it ahs gone deeper in to debt as countries are slow to pay. Its enforceability is limited as it lacks the power to sufficient apply equal force to every nation should members ignore UN resolutions. War is not the only means of ending a conflict; a more peaceful method is through international tribunals. The International Court of Justice is an arm of the UN and is therefore one of the worlds main judicial bodies. Established in 1946, it is sometime referred to as the ‘world court. With its jurisdiction applies when it is in accordance with international law.

Its primary role is to decide matters submitted by countries and to advise on the matters. It can also apply its authority when there is a special agreement about a dispute in which the parties to a treaty nominate the ICJ as the mechanism for resolution. The ICJ is a permanent court where 15 judges are elected by the UN Security Council and the General assembly. Not only can the ICJ resolve disputes by making a ruling, it can also generate political pressure to persuade countries to alter their behavior. In theory, the courts decisions are binding and without appeal.

However in practice the losing party unwilling to abide by the ruling and the Security Council often limits its effectiveness is restricted to enforce the ruling. For example in the case of the US versus Nicaragua (1984), the decision stated that the US had to cease unlawful terrorist activities against Nicaragua and ordered that the US pay reparation. However they refused to pay and subsequently withdrew from the ICJ. But one of the main limitations the ICJ has is that only states can be parties to cases before the court. No individual, organisation or company can bring forth a matter.

Plus both parties need to agree to have the court hear the matter. This is a dilemma in itself as the rulings are final and no country is going to openly dispute the matter where there is a possibility of losing. Its restrictive power reduces its ability to take initiatives and its lack of power to enforce and police its decisions has become a major criticism. The International Criminal Court ICC was established in 2002 as a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for committing genocide, crimes against humanity, crimes of aggression and war crimes.

The ICC is a treaty based, legal entity independent from the UN. Despite this autonomy it works closely with the UN to promote the rule of law. The ICC has the power to imprison the offender if found guilty for life but does not offer the death penalty. One of the main objectives to the ICC is that some countries believe that there is little supervision of the court’s apparatuses and the verdicts may become subject to political matters. For the ICC, it has taken four years for the required sixty signatures to be gained and the treaty ratified.

The United States of America can undermine the proceedings of the court by refusing to supply evidence and witnesses, like any other country can. During the 1990’s several atrocities where occurring in the Balkans and Africa. This resulted in specialist tribunals developed to deal with the specific investigations. War crimes and crimes against humanity were happening in former Yugoslavia. Thus in 1993 the UN Security Council created a new war crimes tribunal. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) had the jurisdiction over breaches of the Geneva Conventions and international customary law.

On 12 February 2002, Slobodan Milosevic, the former president of Yugoslavia was charged of the planning and implementing, on a widespread and systematic scale and attack on the civilian population of Kosovo. Kosovo, which was a province of Serbia, had a majority population of Muslim Albanians and Slobodan was accused of leading a campaign of “ethnical cleansing”. This was the first time a former head of state had faced charges of crimes against humanity. Unfortunately Milosevic died in 2006 before his trial concluded.

The fact that the ICTY tried Slobodan, illustrate that justice can be achieved when nations cooperate with the international community. In Africa, more specifically Rwanda, genocide was occurring between the two main ethnic groups the Hutu and Tutsis. Based on the ICTY model in 1994 the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was established to prosecute those responsible for genocide in the republic. This tribunal was instated in response to over whelming pressures and has started a series of trials.

These Ad Hoc tribunals have one specific purpose and may take time to be established which could mean the loss of thousands of lives. It is not a permanent body and will disband once trials have concluded. Sometimes as in the case with the ICTY where the main target is one person, it can suppress other investigations as most of its resources may be deployed in trailing that one person. The nature of Ad Hoc has proved to be cost ineffective and time consuming. International instruments such as treaties and customary law form the principle source of international law and are some measures of achieving world order.

Treaties, which can also be called conventions, statutes or charters, are binding agreements. They formalise the process where by governments through international agencies work together on common problems. The two types of treaties are bilateral and multilateral treaties in where states agree on terms and the parties are therefore bond by it. Since 1945 there has been some significant treaties signed that are an indispensable part of the current world order

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Evaluate the Effectiveness of the Legal System. (2018, Sep 12). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/evaluate-the-effectiveness-of-the-legal-system-essay

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