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State and Individual alone are Subject of International Law according to Realist Theory

According to the orthodox positivist doctrine, State only are subject of international law. This theory asserts that State alone are the bearers of rights and obligations under international law; individual lack juridical personality because they posses neither rights nor duties under international law. International law regulates the conduct of State and it is the State which performs all types of international obligations under treaties and conventions. Corbett in his book, “The Growth of World Law” has make the remark that, “The triumph of positivism in the late eighteenth century made the individual an object, not a subject of international law. This law more and more emphasized the separateness of states, making their sovereignty, indeed it basic principles.”

Place of Individual in International Law: As pointed out earlier, individual are also treated to be the subject of international law although they enjoy lesser rights than states under international law. Thus, “It is no longer possible, as a matter of positive law, to regard states as the only subjects to international law, and there is an increasing disposition of treat individuals, within limited sphere, as subjects of international law”. In the beginning they were accepted as subject of international law as an exception of the general rule, and number of jurists treated them as objects rather than the subject of international law. This view has now been discarded. In the recent times, several treaties have been concluded wherein rights have been conferred and duties have been imposed upon the individual.

Rights of Individuals: Some of the provisions of the international law under which rights have been conferred upon individual and obligations that have been imposed upon them are as follows:

(1). The United Nations Charter has also given a place of importance to the rights of individuals.

(2). Some very important steps are being taken in respect of the rights of individuals under international law. International law now confers upon the individuals certain rights not only ‘mediately’ but ‘immediately’. An example of this is Convention on the Settlement of investment Disputes between states and the nationals of other states.

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