The Essentials of International Public Law and Organization

By Amos S. Hershey | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVII
INDIVIDUALS AS OBJECTS OF INTERNATIONALLAW

222. Individuals as Objects of the Law ofNations .-- As stated in an earlier chapter, 1 individualsare objects rather than subjects of International Law. Inasmuch as their international rights and obligations are mainly secured and determined by the States or political communities to which they belong, their nationality or political allegiance is a matter of the first importance.

223. What is Nationahity? --Nationality? is usually defined 2 as the status or tie which unitesan individual to a particular State. It involves reciprocal relations ofallegiance and protection, and generally, though not always, implies that the individual clothed with a nationalcharacter is a citizen 3 or subject of the State towhich he owes allegiance. This national character is determined bymunicipal. or State Law, and it frequently happens thatseveral States lay claim to the allegiance of the same individual (this is a case of so-called double nationality) or that an individual is left without any nationality whatever (the Germans call it Staatslos or Heimatlos).4 In the former case conflicts between States are likely to arise which call for the exercise of the greatest tact and forbearance. Inthe latter case injustice may be done to those individuals who

____________________
1
See supra, note 2 inch. 6. See, in addition, Borchard,§§ 7-10; Diena, in 16 R. D. I. P. ( 1909), 57 ff. See especially IOppenheim, §§ 288-92, for a good discussion and references on this point.
2
Nationality as here defined is a legal termand should be distinguished from the vague political or ethnological sense in which it is oftenused. Thus we speak of an individual as possessing German, Italian, Polish, oreven Jewish nationality, without any necessary reference to a particularState.
3
The terms citizen andsubject have the same meaning in International Law. Citizen is usually applied to members of a State having arepublican form of government; subject to those with monarchical institutions. Thuswe speak of British subjects and American citizens. Since individuals whoare not citizens in the strict or narrow sense are sometimes clothed witha national character, the term national is nowpreferred by many statesmen and publicists.
4
For discussion of, and references on, "Double and AbsentNationality," see * 1 Oppenheim, §§ 308-13, p.481.

-347-

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