LAW7170 Public International Law

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LAW7170 Public International Law

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LAW7170 Public International Law

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Course Code: LAW7170
University: The University Of Adelaide is not sponsored or endorsed by this college or university

Country: Australia


International courts/tribunals are useful venues for small South Pacific Island states to seek justice.
You should refer to cases (including but not limited to those before the International Court of Justice) and/or provide specific examples to support your arguments.


The issue is related to the intervention of international courts and tribunals in dealing with matters related to human rights as well as environment which help in advancing justice. The native courts that were involved with issues of Pacific islands dealt with criminal and civil jurisdictions but with the passage of time, the issues that arose in those lands were global in nature and therefore it was viewed by the international courts and tribunals that to meet ends of justice, it was necessary that matters were heard by them (Colbert 2018).
Tracing the Supreme Court and High Court to the times when they heard matters related to human rights along with trade policies, it has been perceived that international agreements have always intended to bind the islands together to make sure there is no travesty of justice. Therefore by discussing the history of courts in these islands, case laws will be analyzed to discuss the role of international courts and tribunals.
The rules and regulations that are advanced by the international courts and tribunals are for furthering the human rights aspects of the citizens to make sure there is no abuse of justice. The human rights is an umbrella term that is needed for the understanding of the right to food and also right to health. The issues that are faced by the small Pacific Island Countries are understood in the light of the recommendations and the help that are advanced by the tribunals and the courts (Kirch 2017). The Pacific Island Countries face various environmental as well as global issues. The widespread environmental concerns are plauging the people inhabiting these island and therefore there redress needs to be fast tracked so as to ensure that there is no delay in justice (Thomas and Postlethwaite 2016). As per the location of these islands, there is a grave concern with regards to prioritizing environment as well as also preserving the immediate coastal areas. The trade related issues that are faced by Pacific Island Countries are also related to trade and that area is also densely industrial. Along with environmental and industrial issues, there are also concerns regarding the crimes that are prevalent in those areas (Larmour 2017). Transnational crime and also exploitation of resources have been occurring rampantly in those areas which demand collective responsibility and the Government has been highly active in resolving the disputes. These challenges are global in nature and therefore it is essential to factorize these issues so that the judicial and legislative actions are directed towards enacting proper codes of conduct (Thomas 2017).
Issues faced by the Pacific Island Countries
Post the election, there have been global issues that the islands are facing and without the governmental intervention, it is not possible to get the issues resolved. The islands had an image of ease and there have been both external and internal issues that are threatening the peace of the islands. There are a few islands which are facing the wrath of the environmental degradation along with climatic insecurity and identity crisis. There are some non-regulated territories which are getting the help from countries like Japan and China to combat the issues related to problems that these people are facing. The need of the hour, therefore, is, for the Pacific Island Countries to establish themselves in the international market and also prove that they are powerful enough to regulate themselves (Morin 2015). The issues that are arising in these countries are due to lack of opportunities and some trade related matters. The economic growth in the adjoining countries along with the lack of opportunities in the Pacific Island Countries are a growing threat to the peace and stability of these small islands. The concern has been taken up by the United Nations and in the year 2011, the four Pacific Island states signed up for the Universal Periodic Review which was conducted by the Human Rights Council.
Due to the increasing problems, it has been stated that the review process shall be initiated wherein the United Nations will have an upperhand to review the defects in the law and make sure that justice prevails. Therefore, it can be said that the international tribunals and courts are taking up the issues to redress the problems that are being faced by the people in the Pacific Islands. These countries, therefore face issues related to jurisdictions and legality of the courts that have the power to intervene. Initially, the small countries in the South Pacific came under the control of bigger nations like Britain, Australia and these countries came under the jurisdiction of Supreme Court and the High Court (Friedl 2017). The small islands were controlled by the native courts that were established to deal with the issues that arose in those islands and the jurisdiction of those courts was restricted to civil as well as criminal cases. With the passage of time, when the issues started to become global concerning matters of human rights as well as environmental issues, there was international intervention. These international courts and tribunals have taken up matters related to human rights which goes on prove to the focus has shifted to international standards. One notable case was Public Prosecutor v Malikum where it was held that as per the provisions of Article 37, stringent punishments would be awarded in cases of juvenile offenders (Anghie 2017). Again, similar provisions were laid down in the case of Ulugia v Police where it was held by the court that imprisonment would be awarded in cases of juvenile offenders. The High Courts of the South Pacific Islands States are also taking into consideration the international mandates so that the laws are fair and transparent and therefore, the laws that are followed in these islands are in line with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. In the case of Panifasio v Samoa Law Society, the High Court tried to interpret the laws as per the provisions of European Court of Human Rights where the provisions of Article 9 of the same was interpreted. The case of Scott v Scott, there are certain restrictions to which the international conventions should apply. The laws in the Pacific Islands are based on the principle of rule of law and democracy (Rose 2015).
The Pacific Islands follow the law of appeal where the Court of Appeal has the power to hear appeals and therefore award justice. One of the most important cases related to the international court’s intervention in cases of matters related to the south pacific islands. The landmark case that was heard at the International Court of Justice was the Marshall case that did not turn out to be lucky for the Marshall Islands. This was an important landmark case that was related to nuclear disarmament which was brought against India and Pakistan in the international court. The Marshall Case was lodged against United Kingdom, India and Pakistan which was related to the nuclear weapons and disarmament. This case is important because it ensued that International courts and tribunals had the power to hear matters that were of international repute and were also concerning serious environmental or nuclear issues. This case also paved the way for the International Court of Justice to hear matters related to human rights (Ryngaert 2015). The Case of Marshall was related to nuclear disarmament and also the Court reiterated its decisions regarding the jurisdiction. The Court had unanimously held in this case that there is a good faith obligation that rests with the Courts to hear cases that are grave and need urgent attention from the judiciary. This case is essentially important because it was decided with unison that the International Court of Justice had the jurisdiction to hear matters that arose in the South Pacific Islands. 
There are many criticisms that arise when the international courts hear matters related to issues that arise in the South Pacific Islands. A judge is supposed to be fair and also uphold the principles and the traditions of the place where the issues arises. In certain cases when foreign courts decide on an issue, there might be discrepancies that can lead to travesty of justice (Von Glahn and Taulbee 2017). The justice delivery system in these islands mirror the norms and regulations that were followed in colonial Governments in Europe.
The Pacific Islands have always followed community based justice delivery system where they have followed the method of dispute resolution models where the adjudication was done by impartial and learned judges. When the issues faced by the people in these islands started to get out of the hand of the native courts, the Parliament and the Government decided that it was time for international intervention as per the mandates of the United Nations. The justice system followed in these courts is a mix of state as well as nonstate and therefore, by being bound by the terms and conditions of the international agreement, it is important to accept the jurisdiction of the international courts to ensure there is no failure of justice.
Anghie, A.T., 2017. Politic, cautious, and meticulous: an introduction to the symposium on the Marshall Islands case. AJIL Unbound, 111, pp.62-67.
Colbert, E., 2018. The Pacific Islands: paths to the present. Routledge.
Friedl, M., 2017. The Role of Consent in Public International Law.
Kirch, P.V., 2017. On the road of the winds: an archaeological history of the Pacific Islands before European contact. Univ of California Press.
Larmour, P., 2017. Governance and reform in the South Pacific. Canberra, ACT: National Centre for Development Studies, Research School of Pacific Studies, The Australian National University..
Morin, M., 2015. “Creeping Jurisdiction” by the Small Islands of the Pacific Ocean in the Context of Management of the Tuna Fisheries. The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law, 30(3), pp.477-511.Storr, C., 2016. Islands and the South: Framing the Relationship between International Law and Environmental Crisis.
Rose, J.G., 2015. 11. International environmental governance in the Pacific island region. The Search for Environmental Justice, p.200.
Ryngaert, C., 2015. Jurisdiction in international law. OUP Oxford.
Thomas, E., 2017. Protecting Cultural Rights in the South Pacific Islands: Using UNESCO and Marine Protected Areas to Plan for Climate Change. Fordham Envtl. L. Rev., 29, p.413.
Thomas, R.M. and Postlethwaite, T.N. eds., 2016. Schooling in the Pacific Islands: Colonies in transition. Elsevier.
Von Glahn, G. and Taulbee, J.L., 2017. Law among nations: an introduction to public international law. Routledge.
von Tigerstrom, B., 2017. International Law Issues in the South Pacific. Routledge.

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