Write an essay: does international law constrain the behavior of countries?

Countries, particularly powerful ones, tend to act in their own self-interest, often with little regard for international law. Countries will often disobey customary norms, violate treaties they are party to, and ignore rulings against them in international court cases. However, we have also learned about and discussed some case rulings that complicate this narrative, where countries were held accountable for their violations, and sometimes even abided by the punishment or reparations they owed others.

Write an essay: does international law constrain the behavior of countries? You will need to take an unambiguous stance on the question, arguing either “Yes, it does” or “No, it does not.” You will choose three court cases discussed this semester to make your argument. Out of the three, one of the court cases should serve as a counterargument, or a rebuttal, to your main argument. You should then refute it, or explain why it only weakly contradicts your stance.

Below is a list of cases we have talked about in some detail:

The Paquete Habana
Abdullahi v. Pfizer
North Sea Continental Shelf Cases
Reservations to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
Avena v. Other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v. the United States)
Medellin v. Texas
United States v. Aluminum Co. of America
United States v. Bin Laden
Attorney General of Israel v Eichmann
United States v. Humberto Alvarez-Machain
Reference re Secession of Quebec
Nottebohm Case
Reparations for Injuries in Service of the United Nations
Island of Palmas Case
Falkland Dispute

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