General aspects of international water law and policy

International law (IL) is a system of treaties and norms established by IL entities and international organizations that govern interstate and other related relations.

IL branch is a set of customary and codified in treaty international legal norms that govern relations of international law entities in any of spheres of international cooperation. The branches of IL include: treaty law, international environmental law (IEL), international air law, etc.

Some experts think that international water law is an independent branch of IL, while others believe that it is a part of IEL.

IL establishes and develops comprehensive international cooperation that is maintained through fulfillment by IL entities of their international obligations in good faith and, if necessary, through enforcement, in line with the effective norms of international law.

International law differs from state-based legal systems in that:

1) it is developed differently that state-based laws.

The latter are developed by specially authorized authorities (parliament, president, etc.). While in case of the former, there is no single “body”. Trade-offs and compromises take place among the states when adopting legal norms in IL.

2) IL subjects are states as a whole and international organizations.

Activity of international organizations is limited by a sphere delineated in statutory documents.

3) interstate and international legal norms differ in regulation spheres.

IL governs interstate relations.

International norms consist of peremptory and dispositive norms. Peremptory norms have higher legal force than dispositive ones.

All IL norms are developed by states or with their involvement. IL norms go into effect as soon as majority of treaty parties signed the norms.

The legal force of widely recognized IL norms follows from agreement of the states.

The main sources of IL include treaty and international legal practice. There are also supplementary sources: resolutions of international organizations, decisions of international court, doctrines of public law experts, etc.

IL entities are the parties of international relations that have international rights and responsibilities.

Responsibility in IL is understood as legal consequences if an IL entity breaches the international legal norms. Responsibility in international law is a legal instrument that ensures compliance with IL norms.

Source (in Russian):
Внешняя политика / Словари и энциклопедии на Академике
Внешняя политика государства
Международная политика / Словари и энциклопедии на Академике
Международная политика государства
Международные отношения / Словари и энциклопедии на Академике
Мировая политика / Словари и энциклопедии на Академике
(Глава 23) Общие вопросы международного права

Author: Rysbekov Yu. Kh., SIC ICWC