The Evolution of International Law
by Lucy Law


In my own thinking, I tend to avoid spending much time on the sorts of definitions mentioned here. If we truly believe in world democracy, we must believe that all human beings are sovereign and that their consequent important responsibility belonging to and participating in their local, national, continental and global governance communities is for them to exercise. It is for the individual human being to assign some of his/her sovereignty to the different communities to which she or he belongs.

In the evolution of international law, the important step is the move from
purely inter-state law to law for and by the people. This shift is beginning to take place in the fact that the International Criminal Court is part of international law AND it has jurisdiction over individual world citizens as regards its specified areas of competence. This fact is important in that it extends the concept of international law beyond inter-state law. It is also important because it rises beyond the idea of collective security in the UN Charter (which permits authorized wars), to a new level of human responsibility where international law is authorized to apprehend individuals who commit crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide. This new form of individual responsibility for acts committed against the law makes it possible to overcome war by the rule of law applied directly to individual world citizens.

When the value and power of international law applying to people without resort to the use of violent force is fully recognized and exercised, we will have a measure of democratic world federation and democratic world government.


Lucy Law Webster,
Vice Chair of the Council of WFM; Vice Chair of the American Movement for
World Government; Steering Committee Member, the World Federalist Institute
of Citizens for Global Solutions; Executive Director, Center for War/Peace