Application of the law facts

Application of the law facts


The term international law designates the sets of rules and doctrines that are universally applied among different states in their affairs with one another and between private individuals from the various states. International laws are therefore necessary for the good relations among international organizations. These are the laws that are deemed necessary to ensure international trade among the various nations, and most importantly peaceful coexistence among the various nations. International laws ensure that the various individuals from various nations interact freely and cooperate well.

In the world today, the custodian of international law is the United Nations which was set in the year 1945 to ensure peace among the various nations of the world. International laws were put in place to ensure that the borders among the various nations are respected, thus ensuring sovereignty among nations. This gives these nations the special rights to execute utmost political power over their land, airspace and seas within their surrounding, and more important the people within the borders of such nations. Therefore no other nation state can have ultimate political power over another. Sovereignty is of nation thus refers to the nation’s political independence (Cannizzaro & Palchetti, 2005, 125).

It is therefore a breach of international law for the armed forces of one state to enter the territory of another without its consent. The aspects of sovereignty also apply to the exclusion of foreigners from getting into a territorial boundary of another nation. This is also known as the right to exclude aliens. It is imperative that to understand this fact especially when dealing in trade that involves nations and especially at the borders. It is advisable for the staff to understand this fact especially when handling customs and its jurisdiction. International organizations and nations have also strengthened the relations between them by signing treaties and Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) between them; such agreements are usually signed for the purpose of trade and for the reasons of forming trade federations (Yoram, 2004, 11).


For us to understand this term better, it is cardinal to explain the term customary law, which can be referred to as the universally applied law used uniformly among nations. The rules of international customary laws unite all nations. The nations that swear an allegiance to these laws have to uphold and adopt them for their relations with other nations that also comply with them. For instance, if there cases of cross border trades among nations, then these nations should comply with the regulations that have been put in place to man cross border trades. The nations should do so out of a sense of officially permitted responsibility but not out of comity or political obligation. Customary laws include some of the following laws offering criminal immunity to overseas envoys, recognizing the right of innocent passage of alien ships in the territorial seas, respecting territorial boundaries of foreign states and providing protection to the civilians and the sick. In circumstances where nations do not have treaties or conventions among them, the General Principle of Law will prevail, these principles provide the alternative source of law in the absence of treaties and conventions. The for instance, persons who harm others on international grounds, should compensate them or make recompensed (Watts, 2002, 109).

Customs jurisdiction

To understand jurisdiction of customs, it is important to bring to light the meaning of the word jurisdiction, which means the authority or power right to interpret and apply the law. Thus customs jurisdiction refers to the ultimate power that a state poses to exercise sovereign authority on matters of customs. The administration and jurisdiction of customs in any state is therefore an issue to be handled by independently by that state without any interference from any source. The custom regulations from any state must however be in tandem with the international laws and regulations (Guzman, 2005, 34).

Customs within a state refers to how that state handles the trade of imports and exports; it is the body that is charged with the overall responsibility of protecting custom duties and regulating the flow of goods, personal effects and transportation of such items. Customs also look at the movement into and outside the country of animals, machines, plant and machinery. The custom of a state is an issue which is subject to the local laws and regulations within that state. The state has to establish an immigration department that will enact proper guidelines to govern the migration of people and customs agency to control the trade of imports and exports. For instance a state may forbid the entry of some goods or alternatively forbid the export of some goods. It is therefore the duty of the customs agency to ensure that these laws are adhered to.  This is because such laws make the market favorable for both the imports and exports. For instance, if a state does not properly control its exports, then the domestic market will not favor the locally produced goods because of the high competition from exports from other countries. The immigration department will ensure proper management of the people, it will ensure that only the right enter into the state with proper documentations and also cooperate with other international bodies such as Interpol in arresting internationally wanted criminals and terrorist. It is therefore dangerous to enter into another state without proper documentation and without permission from the immigration department (Malcom, 2008, 45).

Customs are arrived at by making agreements between nations and adherence to international laws. When dealing with customs it is important to understand such terms customs duty which refer to the tax paid on imports or exports. Goods leaving or entering the country are therefore charged this duty before they can be cleared and thus need to be held in the bonded warehouse until they are cleared.

Customs procedures for passengers at the airports, sea ports and road crossings are also treated differently from the imports and exports. Passengers are divided according to the nature of the goods they carry. For instance there are those passengers who carry prohibited items and those that may carry non prohibited items. These goods have therefore to be checked properly before a passenger can be cleared. For instance if a passenger carries prohibited items such as drugs and other dangerous substances, then the law relating to that crime will take its course  and the passenger may be found culpable of an offence that is against the state laws  or international binding laws (Janis Mark , 2003, 109).

The excise tax that is enforced by the customs agency is a very important source of revenue for all states across the world and it is therefore necessary that this area is handled properly by the governments.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has also helped in regulating international trade and customs by establishing the Bio-safety Protocol that is important for ensuring the safety of goods before they are cleared any customs department, and also provide proper handling of biotech products.

It is imperative to note any customs adopted and excise duty imposed on goods by any state should take cognizance of the international laws and regulations. The custom of a state should be in tandem with its statutes. Customs jurisdiction should be handled in such a way that the statute laws and regulations are not interfered with. The state should provide clear cut ways for jurisprudence on customs. It is also important that issues such as inter border trade are handled amicably for proper understanding among individual states involved in the trade.

Cross border trades without proper customs and custom procedure should be put in place be respected and seriously upheld among the member states involved in such trades. International organizations and individual member states should be well informed on cross border issues and trade. They should also be informed of the consequences that accompany the violations of such trades and agreements. Individuals crossing into the territorial boundaries of other states need proper documentation and permission to execute such a movement in order to avoid any legal liability that might make them culpable to such offences. Customs agency should also train their staff and ensure that they are well versed with the rules and regulations governing cross border trades and movement. This is because they are the category of individuals who are involved more often in these activities. Proper inspection of both passengers and goods entering the country is therefore very paramount in ensuring security of the state. The documentation should also be handled properly, for instance one should obtain an import or export declaration document before he or she can carry out an import or export transaction. The customs department should come up good and elaborate procedures for handling goods leaving and getting into the country. The steps followed in these procedures should be very open and easy to follow for purposes of transparency (Henckaerts, 2005, 28)

The jurisdiction of customs lies on the territorial boundaries of the state, from  its land, seas and lakes, and the administration of these areas should carried in pursuance to the established laws of the state. Carried out properly, jurisdiction will help combat smuggling of items into and outside the state.  It will also eradicate illegal movement of people into and outside the state.

  • A customs agency will perform the following activities.
  • Ensuring that the provisions of the customs law are enacted
  • Detect any smuggled items and narcotics
  • Ensure proper collection duties on both exported and imported items
  • Prohibit import or export of certain items or goods.
  • Facilitating trade for importers and exporters

The immigration department will ensure that only authorized entry and exit into a state are allowed and proper legal procedures are followed in order to obtain proper travel documents before leaving the state and when entering that state.



From this excerpt it is important to note that for international trade, proper customs jurisdiction and peaceful coexistence among nations: international laws, treaties and conventions should be put in place to avoid conflicts among nations, international organizations and individuals. Customs are derived from good international laws which are put in place to ensure smooth cooperation among nations globally and for people to interact peacefully. The territorial boundaries of nations should respected just like individual human being respect the boundaries between their homes and are not ready to Condon any trespass into one’s property which may amount into legal liability. A staff from a customs agency should understand this very well to avoid any legal damages to other countries. The movement into and out of a country should be properly authorized and documented by the immigration department.

Regulating the entry of goods and items into the country is very important for trade as will help regulate the level of competition in the market, promote availability of a variety of goods from which consumers can choose from. This also helps in combating the smuggling of drugs and narcotics into a country. This ensures that citizens are protected from such dangerous goods and items which can be hazardous to their health and lives.

Restricting movements within the borders of a state is also important to ensure that only the right can leave and get into the country. This ensures dangerous people like terrorists are kept at bay for they might harm the citizens of a country and also cause massive destruction to property. Such restriction will ensure that a country cooperate fully with international organizations such as Interpol in combating crime.  The boundaries of nation should thus be inspected regularly to ensure that there are no illegal entries into the country.

Customs jurisdiction therefore is not just an issue of government administration but a step towards ensuring a safety and prosperous nation. This comes hand in hand by sticking to international laws and regulations and also respecting the treaties and conventions signed by various organizations.

Jurisprudence of customs is a very crucial element in any country that dreams to have a safe and a prosperous country. It is very important that the government through its customs agency ensures that the laws put in place are followed to the latter and those found culpable for breaking them are prosecuted in the right manner



Cannizzaro, E. & Palchetti, P., (eds) (2005).Customary International Law and the Use of Force: A                Methodological Approach.

Guzman, A.T., (2005). ‘Saving Customary International Law’ 27 MichJIntlL 115–76.

Henckaerts, J.M., (2005). ‘Study on Customary International Humanitarian Law: A Contribution to the    Understanding and Respect for the Rule of Law in Armed Conflict’ 87 ICRC 175–212.

Janis, Mark W. (2003). An Introduction to International Law, 4th Ed. p. 44. New York, Aspen Publishers,

Malcom, S., (2008). International Law, 6th Ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 72-93

Meron, T., (2005) ‘Revival of Customary Humanitarian Law’ 99 AJIL 817–34.

Watts, A,. (2002) ‘The International Court and the Continuing Customary International Law of Treaties’ in N Ando (ed) Liber Amicorum Judge Shigeru Oda 251–66.

Yoram,  D., (2004). The Conduct of Hostilities under the Law of International Armed Conflict, pp. 6-7.      Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.