CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE INTER-AMERICAN SYSTEM TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF PUBLIC INTERNATIONAL LAW
Some contributions of the nations of America, their international scholars, and the Inter-American system to the development of public international law were studied as evidence of the usefulness of the regional approach to world order. The method used in the study was that of legal and historical analysis. The principles studied are classified in three groups representing three different international concerns or foreign policy objectives of the American states since independence. These concerns or foreign policy objectives of the American states are their recognition as fully sovereign entities, maintaining the peace, and reforming the international system. The principles studied in the first group are self-determination, non-intervention, and sovereign equality. Those studied in the second group are uti juris erat (or American uti possidetis), no right of conquest, peaceful settlement of disputes, and collective security. The principles studied in the third group are multilateral cooperation for development, the two-hundred mile zone of jurisdictional waters, and the international protection of human rights. Although the general objective of the Inter-American system has been the acceptance of all of these principles by the world community, the role played by this regional system in the development and strengthening of each of these principles was found to vary with the principle. The role played by the American states ranged from original development of the principles (e.g., the two-hundred mile zone of jurisdictional waters) to institutional assistance in the implementation of a global principle at the regional level (e.g., the international protection of human rights). In all the cases studied though, the role played by the Inter-American system has been positive and has significantly contributed to the development of public universal law. The effectiveness of the Inter-American system, fostered by its relative internal homogeneity, in contributing to the development of international legal principles was found to prove the usefulness of the regional approach to world order.