The Role of International Law in Conflict Resolution

November 26th, 2023

International law plays a crucial role in conflict resolution by providing a framework for resolving disputes between nations and promoting peace and stability . It establishes rules and norms that govern the behavior of states and provides mechanisms for addressing conflicts and settling disputes.

Resolving Disputes between States
One of the key roles of international law in conflict resolution is settling disputes between states. The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, plays a significant role in this regard. The ICJ settles legal disputes submitted to it by states in accordance with international law and also provides advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized UN organs and specialized agencies .

Protecting Civilians and Human Rights
International law also plays a crucial role in protecting civilians and upholding human rights during conflicts. Parties to a conflict are expected to abide by international humanitarian law, which includes protecting civilians and prisoners of war, avoiding attacks on civilian facilities, and respecting the basic rights of prisoners of war . International human rights law prohibits torture, ill-treatment, and other human rights abuses, even during armed conflicts.

Promoting Post-Conflict Reconstruction
Another important role of international law in conflict resolution is promoting post-conflict reconstruction. The international community takes measures to support the rebuilding and recovery of societies affected by conflicts. This includes providing humanitarian assistance, facilitating the return of displaced persons, and supporting the establishment of transitional justice mechanisms to address past human rights abuses .

Preventing Armed Conflicts
International law also plays a crucial role in preventing armed conflicts. The United Nations, through its various bodies and offices, works to prevent conflicts by addressing the root causes of disputes, facilitating negotiations, and promoting peaceful resolutions. The UN Security Council, in particular, has the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security and can take actions to prevent conflicts, deploy peacekeepers, and impose sanctions when necessary .