Full text: Responsibility of states for damage caused in their territory to the person or property of foreigners

“If it were merely an original statute, the legislature of any State might 
abrogate it; however, the sacred rights of humanity are intangible and free 
from the attempt of any country, even if it were the most powerful nation. 
“A detailed comment upon these provisions”—adds Mr. Scott—*“would 
seem to be uncalled for; but I would like to make certain remarks. Specific 
rights are deemed to be acquired rights. We are not now insisting on the 
fact that they should be innate, inherent or inalienable, but it is the duty of 
the State to recognize and protect them. It is not the State speaking: it is 
the voice of the international community that makes iself heard. The com- 
munity exists, not by reason of a formal act on the part of the State, but 
owing to the coexistence of the various States, which should have common 
laws to protect the independence of the constituent members of the com- 
munity. And this community, over the head of the States, crosses their 
boundaries to protect the men, women and children who form part of it. 
The international community is not a discovery of our age. It has existed 
ever since two States existed, and with the birth and recognition of new 
nations, the international community grows in scope and power.” 
Therefore, in theory, there should be no possible difference between 
nationals and aliens: both should enjoy the same fundamental rights. The 
day will come when the international community will find a way to establish 
a minimum standard of rights for all men. This régime is now embodied 
in a few treaties, but in the not far distant future it might be established as 
a general principle of international relations. Undoubtedly, the principle 
will be differently construed for some time to come in its application to 
certain peculiar cases. But in these same questions that are presently the 
source of differences among the States, the evolution of the municipal public 
law and of the international jurisprudence, which will follow a parallel 
course, will gradually eliminate the points in controversy. The fact is that 
at the present moment, the fundamental rights and guaranties, viz. : the equal 
rights to life, property and liberty; the adequate organizations and necessary 
legal actions to render these rights effective; the administration of justice 
in fair and honest manner consistent with the public morals of the age; the 
maintenance of peace and order in regular manner so as to afford to all 
inhabitants an opportunity to attain the ends of their labor and happiness ;— 
constitute the current standard of the juridical mind of the world. Any 
State that fails to follow such standard becomes responsible and should 
make reparation for the consequent injury. The duty to establish it is both 
international and national in character. Presently, the international char- 
acter of this duty is more effective, because the alien is also covered by the 
protection of his own State. The problem for the future will be to extend 
this standard so that man, by the mere reason of being such, will be entitled 
to the same protection no matter in what part of the world he may be, and 
regardless of his nationality. 
However, it may be stated that this problem of the legal status of aliens

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