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Int’l law needs new direction, urgent reforms in UN: Ansari

International law is at the crossroads and needs a new direction to deal with emerging issues like military interventions and radicalisation of non-state actors, Vice President Hamid Ansari said today.

“Military interventions in established nation states have led to instability and to the growth of sectarian and ethnic discord.

“Non-state actors, of different ideological persuasions, have violated borders and sovereignty at will. Some of these transgressions have received support from other powers and nation states,” Ansari said in his inaugural address at the World Congress on International Law here.

He said parts of international law remain highly contested, especially those on warfare, concept of state sovereignty, and “to a full range of self serving interests of the powerful who wish to use international law to further their political, economic and security interests”.

He said that there was an urgent need of reforms in the UN as the world has changed and new power realities have emerged. He said several new regional and trans-regional groupings have come into being, but the United Nation remains largely unaltered.

Ansari said although international laws and the institutions created to further its influence and application have grown significantly over the last six decades, but it needed new direction to deal with emerging issues which are no more confined to interstate relations.

“Its (international law) ambit has grown from interstate relations, to individual rights and now covers civil society and corporations apart from State conduct. It extends to the Global Commons and attempts to address new challenges being posed by new technologies, non-state actors, unhindered information and financial flows.

“While it is trying to cope with transnational concerns relating to pandemics, narcotics, illegal trafficking in human beings and arms, it cannot escape addressing some fundamental issues,” he said, adding several parts of the world are engulfed by crises of “identity, political control and stability”.

The “nation-state system is under strain, prompted by geo-political, short term strategic compulsions and radicalised non-state actors. Colonial geographies have begun to dismantle”.

International Court of Justice President Peter Tomka and its justices Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf and Dalveer Bhandari are among those who attended the World Congress organised by the Indian Society of International Law.


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