Saturday, December 29, 2012

International Organisations and State Sovereignty

Legally speaking, the international organisations are the outcomes of treaties having voluntary nature of participation of sovereign countries but no state is bound to give up its sovereignty in the cause of institutionalising a world society. International Organisations at present represent a ‘sophisticated’ means of conducting inter-state relations when national interests are better served through multilateral action or international concert of the essential elements of a state, sovereignty is the most valuable, without which the statehood character of a state becomes impotent but somewhat differently, sovereignty may customarily be characterised by absoluteness, universality, permanence, and indivisibility. An international organisation is the association of sovereign states and decision taken by the organisation is applicable to all the members. So, question may arise whether the membership of any organisation affects the sovereignty of the respective states. It has been argued that state sovereignty has been restricted by the growth of international law and agreements legally contracted with other states. In fact, sovereignty deals with the internal relations of a state to its inhabitants and is, therefore, a term of constitutional law and not applicable to international relations. Such reasoning is attacked by the proponents of the strict juristic theory of sovereignty. Limitations imposed by international law and treaties and conventions are not legally binding. Because they are voluntary limitations, self-imposed, unenforceable by any higher authority, and can be denounced by the sovereign state at its will.  Thus it is argued that such restrictions cannot be enforced by the state upon its citizens since it is not the product of the sovereign power in the same sense as national law. The fact is that despite the need for good faith in interstate relations and the development of complex interrelations among states, each state, in the final analysis, seeks to be its own interpreter of international obligations and maintains the right to determine its own standards of international conduct. In its most extreme form, such reliance is the very negation of international cooperation and destroys the fundamental obligations of membership in an international organisation. Happily, most states recognise the need for a standard of international conduct based upon respect for the tenets of international law and the requirements of comity and good faith. Practically, if a vital national interest is seriously threatened, the state must pursue a unilateral course of action, supported by the popular belief of its citizens that as a sovereign entity, it cannot be legally restricted in its external as well as internal acts.

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