IGO And NGO Influence On The Development International Law

IGO And NGO Influence On The Development International Law


Both NGO and IGO have an effect on the international system and influence a lot in the development of international law. IGOs provide the major forum that lead to the development of international law while NGOs provide the main thrust behind many international laws which result from their researching and their capability to bring the public attention and support to unknown issues

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The last decades have witnessed an increasing rise in the intensity of international activities undertaken by NGOs and the IGOs such as UN and its organ in the world. The Non-Governmental Organization commonly abbreviated as NGO continue to play a pivotal role in the making and championing of international law today. The UN and its organ are today seen as the custodian of human rights and international law through sanctions to its member states. Members of United Nation which is the major IGO comprises nearly the entire world.

This organizations seems to be very vital in development and existence of international community as whole, this is because it cuts across all international, social, political and economic norms that ensures transparency and understanding of international relation. They are seen to be breathing space for the international law (Ranjeva, 1999). Traditionally this international law, non-governmental organization, and also non-state actors played a major role in formulation, emergence and monitoring of norms in international scene. International law can be understood as asset of rules that are created by different states for the purpose of coexistence regulation. These intercontinental bylaws can also be use by the international organizations. All this is to monitor interstate relations, the role being to regulate common legal norms among the states involved.

NGOs can be defined as non-profitable and private associations which can be either national or international. The international organization has a wide area of action because mostly it deals in the international scene while the national deals with local scope of action. On 24th of April 1986 in Strasbourg, governmental organization adopted a distinction between international NGOs and national NGOs (Smouts, 1998). The national NGOs had a national legal statute with a scope of action internationally. The term NGO is basically seen as any king of organization apart from state. It includes the intergovernmental organizations and in addition the entire realm of civil groups. Hence the collective life that goes beyond individual but below the state. They are private organizations that are not established by state or any intergovernmental agreement.

On the other hand intergovernmental organization (IGO) can also be seen as international governmental organization. It is an organization mainly composed of member states or sovereign states.  It’s an agency that is made up by two or more governments or states to carry a common projects or plans for a common interest (Teitel, 2002). They may include multinational corporations or non profit making organization. They act as an important aspect of international laws. IGOs are established or formed by treaties that make a charter in the creation of the group.

International law is generally seen as laws governing all people and all nations in the international scene and it is generally approved and agreed by all participants of international affairs.

IGO and NGO Influence on the Development International Law

IGOs are said to contribute to international law in a number of ways: primarily they are seen as actors in the making of multi-lateral treaties. Treaties were majorly unilateral actions by a number of states (World Trade Organization, 2006). With the emergency of IGOs which resulted from the Vienna congress, treaties amongst multiple governments emerged. IGOs have become central agent in the making of international law today simply because they create conducive environment where international law discussion starts and ensure the signing of these treaties.

For example, many discussions have been facilitated by WTO and GATT which have created an impact in creating conducive democratic state (Weil, 1996). IGOs are fundamentally the most important aspect of international law today, by the use of international systems such as UN, international law has created and it has been followed to the later by the member’s states. It is important to mention that IGOs and NGOs have worked hand in hand in ensuring those international laws are put to order (Teitel, 2002).

The participation of NGO in the international affair can be look back in the 18th century when a number of NGOs contributed to emergence of international law relating to significant political, economic and social issues. They become instrumental in educating the states for the need of international regulation concerning human rights, for instance, recognition of free labour as a right, abolishment of slavery, reductions in barriers and tariffs to trades and more importantly gender equality (Weil, 1996). Among the crusaders of these campaigns had an international dimension that is similar to the active role played by NGOs today.

They participated in lobbying government delegates by use of NGOs newspapers and pamphlets, organized parallel workshop, briefing documents and provided technical professionalism that included membership to governmental delegation that all marked as routine ways of involvement NGOs in international affairs.

IGO And NGO Influence On The Development International Law

Later in 20th century they were allowed to participate and attend intergovernmental committees that concerned trade and economic issues. The emergence of IGOs such as international labour organization and Red Cross was a result of idealistic, behind the scenes of NGOs involvement (Smouts, 1998). These IGOs have set some rule and regulation that are followed by member’s state and thereby ensuring there is adherence of international law. The international law on the other hand promotes the solidarity required by member states of IGO.

NGO uses various means when participating in the elaborating of international norms. Marches and demonstrations, appeals to the media, lobbying through faxes or emails, and letter writing to head of governments and states, representatives of the NATO, UN or  EU, members of parliament, members states of security councils are among the methods used by NGOs. Also, NGOs write legal arguments or reports on a particular country regularly.

International public law has in the past decades undergone and it is still undergoing at the moment an inflationary movement. International legalization has today broken the traditional boundaries and it has spread over into domains which in the past did not stand as law. However, this progress has a come with several drawbacks in that the solidity that international law hold in the past has been washed away (Devin, 2002)

NGOs have continuously influenced the content of international law by marshalling and lobbying in the support of codification of international norms, and ensuring application of international law and thereby assuming the role of monitoring of international law and therefore contributing to the rise of new ethos in international scene. NGOs have continuously fought in the support of creating a mechanism of law enforcement, for instance, amnesty international conducted a successful international campaign to put torture and other multi practices into international agenda, (Ranjeve, 1999).

This resulted to the passing of the convection against torture and other inhuman, cruel or degrading punishment or treatment (CAT) by UN in 1984 and hence, making torture as a human right issue to have its on convection. Further more, this charter have continuously played central roles in many other human rights campaigning strategies and normative claims. Historically, NGOs that included both large international NGO and local NGO have played vital roles in the development of the convection and committee against torture.

The UN committee against torture was established with the role of monitoring and bringing compliance of other human right treaties of the UN. Apart from the image of lobbying and advocacy that is mainly seen in NGOs, they have another profile known as professionalism associations. The government and state authority places the involvement of NGOs in a very high esteem because of the expertise they provided in all field especially during the establishment of the UN and the later during Second World War (Teitel, 2002).

This may be taken to imply that, many NGOs have tremendously grown in terms of professionals or expertise members within there disposal, (Freidson, 1986). Previously they were considered as amateurs but today they posses credential clearly demarcate them from amateur. They have given the right direction to the state when it comes to the decision making by the states members, for instance, in the making of then Rome statute, NGOs were represented by the lawyers who were fully aware of the procedures of making the statute. The existence of professionalism in the NGOs is as a result of the growing technicality of the international law and there by lack of experts in the NGO may make them be excluded the negotiations in the statute (Rutherford, 2000).

Professionalism in most NGOs has provided a source of authority. Scientific know how and legal familiarity have play an important role of filing law suits and making internet use in coordinating experts which could otherwise be isolated by their knowledge specificity with state preferring to work with professionals like doctors/ lawyers and other professionals rather than mere activists. Rosenau (1990) asserted that civil society and states interact in a manner that creates their coexistence possible and thereby making the NGOs real partners in the process of making law.

NGOs while fully participating in the process of making law at the various levels and stages have became major section of the broader dynamic that created universal legal conscience and new international ethos by promoting international justice and norms (Ranjeva, 1999).

IGO And NGO Influence On The Development International Law

Cassese and Marty  (2002) saw that NGOs and other stakeholders such as ICC played a fundamental role in the process of searching common  values as the only realistic answer to current issues, in particular the war, international justice and peace because it was the only answer in avoiding revenge and creating lasting peace,( Cassese and Marty 2002)  NGOs goes ahead and give victims whose right have been violated with lawyers, financial aids helping them in drafting and further more in the filing of their violations.

Additionally NGOs have worked hard to ensure inclusion of certain rights or statutes in the Rome statute, for instance, FIDH worked tirelessly in ensuring that the definition of enforced disappearances is adhered to as a crime of torture in and its perpetrators are appropriately punished and prosecuted (Freidson, 1986). similarly, a number of consultations between inter-state, non-governmental actors and states are took place by the auspices committee of international red cross discussed and agreed on a number of principles to be taken forward while drafting convection on enforced disappearance back in 2003. NGOs carry a role of monitoring and watchdogs of norms that they negotiated are followed to the final (Janis & Noyes, 2006).

NGOs and judges play an important role in investigating a case before filing of compliant. The statute making the ICC acknowledges the vital role played by NGOs in the process of pursuing international criminality. They are seen as a legitimate source of information among members (Devin, 2002). European Union is seen as the mainly successful IGO because of the binding documents and treaties that have kept and created the system of EU properly working. It is also successful because of goals it has achieved among its member states.

The IGO has played a role in diplomatic creation of international law through the use of organizations such as international criminal court (ICC), world trade organization (WTO) and the united nation (UN), which serves as the main multilateral actors of international law. Additionally, a lot of this institutions acts as a foundation of modern global culture which currently exists (Cassese & Delmas -Marty, 2002). IGO also create a lasting function simply because two countries will not have to open talk between them but rather they will start a diplomatic relation in solving an issue.

Janis and Noyes insisted that the NGOs mainly have assisted in international law formulation through their ability to mobilize media and public support towards their agenda items (Janis & Noyes, 2006). This is because NGOs invest much of their time on research, most government and people believe them wholly on the pertinent issues and merely bother to look for truth elsewhere. NGOs therefore enjoy a lot of support in their quest for democracy and other important country laws.


NGOs/IGOs have inevitably participated in the emergence, monitoring and drafting of international rules and norms. Their legal activist have contributed greatly to the tightening all the stitches in the legal net, (Cassese, 1990). They have become responsible for the retreats and breakthrough of international law. They have worked tirelessly in their quest for arguing for their integration to the binding international instruments that is binding and they have actively participated in creating a new international ethos having the knowledge of the significance of human right and victims suffering.

NGOs/IGOs and other actors while playing their significant role may come with the risk of identifying themselves as the custodian and spokesman of human dignity  and thereby monopolizing the debate and the long run serve their own interests at the expense of others. None the less people may start wondering under which criteria a number of values may be referred to universal. Eventually, though nonstates actors may have penetrated and kidnapped human rights, numerous domains of international rules and laws is unexplored and hence it has been excluded from ethical trend. Finally it is clear that NGOs and IGOs are no longer observers of the international process or mere information givers but they have became part and parcel in their own rights


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