International Law and World Government

Reasoning with clear ideas and examples, what are at least two of the main justifications for the legitimacy, authority, and usefulness of the UN, and two of the main criticisms?

Legitimacy means the acceptance and right of a given authority such as a law for governance, or a specified regime. Legitimacy refers to a whole set of governance system. On the other hand, authority refers to a specified position in a government. Government on its part refers to a sphere of influence. Any authority is perceived to be legitimate if it practices the mandate to use power justifiably. Legitimacy is, primarily, the most important ingredient for governing. If a government does not have legitimacy it is likely to encounter legislative deadlock (City, 2015. 2).

The mandates of the UN are basically normative. They aim to preserve peace, protect human rights and to promote development. The plans for operations are ideally strategies for implementation of the normative mandates of the organization. The credentials of the UN in representing the international community give the giant organization legitimacy. The UN has the mandate to decide for the international community on matters of procedure and impartiality. However, the situation also sets up the organization for claims of illegitimacy, informed by the technical nature of its secretariat as an international civil service entity. Such a stance causes problems. In a more recent occurrence, the interim leadership in Iraq requested the UN to assist in training the prosecutors and judges who would try Saddam Hussein and his associates. Kofi Annan, the then UN Secretary General responded that the UN would not be involved in helping national courts that have been given the mandate to try criminals. According to Annan, in a report he gave on transitional crisis, he reiterated that the UN would not participate or establish any tribunal for which there is intention to exact capital punishment. However, the question that arises from the developments is that of knowing whose political morality this could be? What is the number of people in the world living under regimes that still maintain capital punishment as a way to handle some forms for crime? The governments that still use capital punishment include Indonesia, China, Japan and the US. One wonders who sets the benchmarks for the relevant international standards. Does the giant organization enjoy state of grace over its members (Thakur, 2010, 1)?

Consequently, advocating for peace across the globe and human rights that are universal are the justifications that the UN has displayed for the right to the authority it exercises. The organization has achieved the feat in a range of ways including the Security Council sanctioning a country as a response to a threat to prevailing security. It may also do so when there is a threat to public peace and aggression as highlighted in the UN Charter. Nevertheless, use of the armed forces is not among the options that the UN has on its cards. Other examples include the fact that they rely on their image to the public that they are a more humane option. Sanctions are treated as an option of the last resort (City, 2015. 2).

On the other hand, criticism has been flying round that 5% of the members of the UN’s Security Council who happen to be all nuclear powers have crafted a nuclear club that is exclusive and with unchecked powers. While the UN’s General Assembly is ably represented across the member countries, the Security Council does not reflect this image. It is not a wonder, therefore, that the UN’s Security Council is accused of helping to champion the interests of the exclusive Club. It has been accused of aiding the exclusive club members to achieve their interests in conflict areas with natural oil resources such as the case of Kuwait. Such a move has been contrasted with the case of Rwanda which does not have similar resources but experienced genocide (City, 2015. 2).

Another area of criticism directed at the Security Council has to do with the veto power of the permanent members of the council. As matters stand right now, a single veto from any of the members will stall any action the Council may have intended to take. Thus, it is about the objection of a single country, as opposed to the views of the majority states. According to John J. Mearsheimer, since 1982, the United States alone has vetoed a whopping 32 resolutions by the Security Council related to the Israeli crisis. The figure represents an excess of the total such action taken by all the other members over the time. Israel is left out of the Security Council because the members are proposed by the regional blocs. The Arab League only proposes its allies to be members of the Council. Consequently, Israel has continually been condemned because of the existed vested interests of the Arab League members of the UN’s Security Council (Thakur, 2010. 1).

? Reasoning with clear ideas and examples, what are at least two of the main justifications for the legitimacy, authority, and usefulness of the World Court, and two of the main criticisms?

The International Court of Justice has proved that it is legitimate by pursuing the agenda to protect universal human rights and democratic governance across the states of the world. It has also taken keen interest in settling disputes across the globe. The reasons for the interventions by the ICJ are that there are countries believed to blatantly disrespect human rights. Such countries are also seen to be unable to provide justice to their nationals. In the month of July 2013, a brick layer that lived in Rio was rounded up by the police in a mission intended to comprehend drug traffickers in the area. De Souza was never seen again after the arrest. Demonstrators tried to press for justice in De Souza’s case. However, the demonstrators were repulsed mercilessly. The story of De Souza would have ended there in most cases. However, because of the pressure exerted by the public, the police were forced to launch investigations which led to the arrests of 10 members in their ranks. The 10 were charged by the ICJ with the torture and murder of De Souza (Posner, 2014. 5).

If it were not for the International Court, De Souza’s case would only have counted for a statistic. The action by ICJ is an example of how it has exercised its authority to dispense justice to victims where respective countries have failed to do so. (Cohen 2017. 4).

On the other hand, there have been lots of criticisms directed at the International Criminal Court, with regard to its previous rulings, procedures and authority. Just like the case with the criticisms of the UN, the critics cite issues to do with the authority granted to the courts by member states via its charter and not specific issues regarding the composition of its judges or problems with specific rulings by the courts. For instance, there is compulsory jurisdiction applied only when both parties agree to submit to the ruling of the court. Therefore, cases of aggression tend to be sped up by the Security Council. The sovereignty principle in international law dictates that there is no nation that is superior to another. Thus, no nation can force another into practicing a given law. Therefore, the Security Council lacks the mandate to impose its decisions on members to comply. The consequence is that no member is obligated to consent to the decisions of the ICJ. As a matter of law principle, therefore, members are at liberty to adopt decisions that they deem fit (Posner, 2014. 5).


The ICJ does not have the mandate to prosecute individual cases. Citizens in a given country do not have the liberty to appeal decisions made by their highest courts. Only states that can present cases to the ICC and defend the same cases. There is a huge loophole for abuse of minority communities and individual victims of human rights abuses by agents of the state (Cohen 2017. 4). There have been accusations that the ICJ seems to be targeting specific races. Several African states have defied warrant of arrests to their leaders, by the courts, based on grounds of impartiality.

? Using biblical and extra-biblical sources (The Bible, commentaries, teachings, other writings, etc.) to inform your own reasoning, does a consistent Christian worldview require definite support for or opposition to such institutions, or is this support or opposition merely contingent upon specific institutional ideas and behaviors? Be clear and coherent in your responses.

I think everyone is at liberty to think and see things in their own unique way. World view is widely defined as the clear view that humans adopt of reality, including matters that have no proof. Apostle Paul warns Christians not to be yoked together with those who do not believe (2 Cor. 6:14). Here Paul seems to condemn any association with non-believers and advocates for a complete divorce from the world around. In the same breath, though, the same Christianity advocates that Christians should be agents of positive change wherever they live and work (TheronandLotter, 2009. 472). There is, therefore the need to strike a balance accommodating and exclusive Christian practices. To be strongly anchored in Christian principles ensures that christens realize their true calling for reform across the spectrum of life. Christians are called to be agents of positive change in the world and Service to God. Therefore, only an integral Christian World view can help Christians achieve their central role and mission of being agents of positive transformation (TheronandLotter, 2009. 472).

The Christian World view is an attractive option because it emphasizes a Christian approach in perceiving the world. The Christian world view explains what the bible teaches about human activity, and helps Christians to adapt to situations in the real world. The above argument, thus, informs my view that it is impossible to establish an amicable approach that can be used to oppose such institutions since they are influenced to a large extent by belief and faith, aspects that cannot be investigated or approved. The institutions should, thus, be supported to achieve their mandate.




City, Think. “Wikipedia the free encyclopedia.” Website: http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Think_City Updated 23 (2015).

Cohen, Harlan Grant, Andreas Follesdal, Nienke Grossman, and GeirUlfstein. “Introduction: Legitimacy and International Courts.” (2017).

Posner, Eric. “The case against human rights.” The Guardian4 (2014).

Thakur, Ramesh. “Law, Legitimacy and United Nations.” Melb. J. Int’l L. 11 (2010): 1.

Theron, P. M., and G. A. Lotter. “The necessity of an integral Christian worldview: reconnoitring the challenges for influencing the unbelieving world.” Koers 74, no. 3 (2009): 467-493.

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