The Growing Ambit of International Law, and its Importance in India
Professor Ken Randall, the CEO/President of iLaw Ventures and Provost of Charlotte School of Law and Arizona Summit was the keynote speaker for the lecture organized by Symbiosis Law School, Pune on the 22nd of January 2015. The lecture was based on an extremely germane and contemporary topic, ‘The Growing Ambit of International Law, and its Importance in India’. The lecture provided the students an in-depth understanding of the laws governing sovereign Nation States.
Professor Randall spoke about the growing collaboration between India and the United States of America, and the role played by its respective leaders in fostering and developing international relations.
The importance of treaties and the structure of the legislature in the U.S. was explained. Each treaty signed by the President has to be ratified by the Senate before it can be made applicable or binding in nature. Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution, which is the ‘Supremacy Clause’ deal with the hegemony of Federal Laws over State Laws. The clause also states that International Law and Federal Law will be at par; and in case of a conflict of laws, the Law of Nations will have an upper hand. The lawmakers in the United States are also bound by this clause, so as to ensure that any new laws passed are in accordance with the treaties signed by the United States of America.
This provision is encompassed in the Alien Torts Claim Act (ATCA), which reads as follows- "The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States". This clause therefore allows non-citizens to claim justice in the U.S. Courts for violation of certain rights. The question of over stepping jurisdiction still remains debatable and ambiguous.
The Professor also spoke about the Vienna Convention, the international community and the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ and matters relating to jurisdiction. He put forward various hypothetical situations and showed the role played by diverse branches of law, primarily International Law, in solving legal disputes arising from a conflict of laws. The relevance of International Law in our day-to-day lives was exhibited through these examples.