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Public International Law. The place of Individuals Within International Law. (Essay Sample)


Critically analyze the place of individuals in international law


The place of Individuals Within International Law
There has been a debate about the recognition of individuals as subject to international law since time immemorial. It is essential to note that this has been affirmed and rejected at the same time owing to various points of thinking and positions among scholars. Critically, it has long been believed that only states were subject to public international law, and this is one of the most significant reasons why the thought of individuals being subject to the same laws has become unique. According to Oppenheim, since the treaties of international law are based on the consent of states of individuals, only the rules should be subject to the law. Therefore, this played a crucial role in the fact that international law did not consider individuals for centuries. The reasoning behind this is the fact that individuals are citizens of states and international law in an agreement between various states. From this perspective, individuals are objects in international law and cannot be considered as subjects of the same regulations.[Conrado M. Assenza, ‘Individual as Subject of International Law in the International Court Jurisprudence’ (2013) accessed 22 December 2017.] [Oppenheim, International Law (2nd edn. 1912).] [Ibid.] [David P. Fidler, ‘International Law’ (World Health Organisation – Trade, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy and Health) (2017) <> accessed 22 December 2017.]
Moreover, the reasoning seems to suggest that individuals do not have the same rights under international law. Taking individuals as objects of international law has its natural implications2. First, it is essential to note that this means that states can treat citizens the way they wanted as they did not have the same rights as their nations. Additionally, states were obliged to apply their laws to individuals that were within their boundaries. 

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