International law governs the relations between sovereign states, International organizations and also between International Organizations and sovereign states. Since prior to the early 14th century Europe, modern form of diplomacy has been a major medium for the governance of relations among states. International diplomacy and International Law has a leading role in maintaining peace and establishing relationships among states.
The application of the International law and its position in the municipal legal system is often debated. The paradigm shift, which occurred after the collapse of USSR, signaled the end of the bipolar international system and resulted in soft laws such as United Nations General Assembly declarations, Security Council’s declarations, recommendations of International conferences and other non binding forms as rules of International law.
Nepalese status of monism or dualism is still a grey area as it is not written clearly in neither the Constitution nor in any statutory laws. The concept of treaty ratification and approval was introduced in the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal in 2047 B.S for the first time; the influence of which cannot be ignored in considering International law as an important source of municipal law.
Nepalese outlook towards International law can be illustrated by the status of Treaties and Conventions in the Nepalese legal system. The Constitution of Nepal 2072 B.S. Article 278(1) has vested the treaty making power to the Federal Government and the act of Ratification, accession, acceptance or approval of a treaty must be done in accordance with law as per Article 279(1). The treaty related to peace, friendship, defense, strategic alliance, boundaries, etc must be approved by the two-third majority by both the houses of parliaments.
Nepal has become party to various International Conventions, resulting in being bounded by various International Laws. The Children Act was enacted as a result of Nepal becoming party to the Convention on Right of Child in 1989. Similarly, Nepal is bound to adopt the provisions of various International Conventions in the national legislation in order to meet the standards set by such International Conventions. Nepal has significantly amended its law to achieve gender equality as required by various conventions such as CEDAW, ICCPR, ICESCR, UDHR, and many other International Instruments. The Treaty Act and the constitutional provisions regarding the status of International law have triggered the overall development in adoption of international law in Nepalese legal system.
Nepal is an active member of UN and was a non permanent member of Security Council in the year 1969. Similarly Nepal is a member of the WTO, ILO, SAARC, and other Regional and International organization, resulting in obedience of Nepal towards the International norms, values and practices that form the backbone of International Law. Similarly Nepal has maintained Diplomatic relation with 150 nations till date, which needs regulations, and for the very purpose International law has become a necessity for the harmonization of such relations.
Recently, Nepal was elected in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for the term 2018-2020, providing Nepal with an unprecedented opportunity in the International arena to contribute in promoting human rights laws nationally and internationally.
Nepal’s efforts for the recognition of the International Instruments are as par satisfactory. However, Nepal still needs to work on various defects in its legal system that are influenced by the traditional, outdated and impracticable laws. Looking forward, Nepal needs to enhance its response toward the internalization of the International laws and the standards set out. This will not only be helpful to uplift the standards but also to remain updated in order to fix the loopholes created by prolonged insatiability and transitions.
Mr. Aayam Sharma is currently a student of law in National Law College, Kathmandu