In classical international law, individuals were considered as object of international law. However, with the emergence of modern international law, individuals are considered as subjects. Being a subject of international law creates rights and duties on the individuals and not through States. Thus, individuals are protected by the international legal regime.
The phrase ‘people of the UN’ gave emphasis to all the people of the world as one human family. Also, the golden thread which runs through out the UN Charter gives importance for the protection and promotion of human rights. This human right is enjoyed and cherished by the individuals.
Individuals is the pivot on which international peace, development and cooperation depends. Telson said that the duties of States are ultimately the duties of the individuals. To note, the procedure capacity of the individuals to enforce international rights is grossly inadequate. In most cases, States claims on behalf of their individuals as paren Patriae. Thus, as long as international community composed of States, it is only through the exercise of their will alone rights and duties are conferred to individuals.
Starke defined subjects of international law with three attributes:
1. Incumbent of rights and duties
1. Holder of procedural capacity for enforcing a claim before an international tribunal
2. Possessor of interest for which provisions is made by international law
There are 8 core international human rights treaty laws and three important regional human rights treaty framework to protect human rights. Some of them are (1) Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1945, (2) international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966, (3) International Covenant on economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966,(4) Inter-American Convention on Human Rights, 1969 etc.
Also, individuals acquired rights under the treaty, if intended by the parties. In the case of dancing railways officials case, the Poland had acquired under an international agreement, Danzing Railway Co. in that agreement, Poland had agreed to provide certain facilities to the railway officials. Subsequently, Poland refused to provide those facilities. Poland argued that the agreement was in the form of an International agreement created rights and duties to States alone and not to the individuals.
Duties of the individuals: Individuals should not commit crimes against peace and humanity, War crimes, Genocide, hijacking, taking hostages etc which are heinous crime in international law.
Thus individuals are subject of international law as they have rights, duties and limited procedural capacity in the international plane, even though their capacity is less than that of states. Article 34 of the ICJ should be amended in order that individuals may have access to the ICJ.