815 – Public International Law
Public international law is the law governing nations in their relations with each other. It has existed in one form or another since ancient times. It now encompasses many subject areas, including such critical and timely ones as diplomatic relations; the use of armed force by and against states; terrorism and permissible responses to it; protection of non-combatants in war; the recognition of new national states and governments; the rights and duties of states; international human rights; international organizations such as the United Nations; the law of the seas; international environmental law; and international criminal law. Public international law is critically important to the United States, not only to government entities such as the State and Defense and Justice Departments, but also increasingly to private lawyers. It is very often invoked and applied in US courts, state and federal. It is unique among branches of the law taught in American law schools, in its nature, sources, scope, and standards and methods of applicability. Each semester we study the basic foundations of public international law and then proceed to focus on some combination of the above topics as indicated by available time and class interest.