international law

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The system of law regulating the interrelationship of sovereign states and their rights and duties with regard to one another. In addition, certain international organizations (such as the United Nations), companies, and sometimes individuals (e.g. in the sphere of human rights) may have rights or duties under international law. International law deals with such matters as the formation and recognition of states, acquisition of territory, war, the law of the sea and of space, treaties, treatment of aliens, human rights, international crimes, and international judicial settlement of disputes. The usual sources of international law are (1) conventions and treaties; (2) international custom, in so far as this is evidence of a general practice of behaviour accepted as legally binding (see opinio juris; customary international law); (3) the general principles of law recognized by civilized nations.

International law is also known as public international law to distinguish it from private international law, which does not deal with relationships between states.

Subjects: Law — Social Sciences.

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