International law is generally defined or described as law applicable to relations between states. States are said to be the subjects of international law and individuals only its "objects." Treatises on international law accordingly usually proceed at the very outset to examine the nature and essential characteristics of the fictitious jural person known as the state.
Philip C. Jessup,
THE SUBJECTS OF A MODERN LAW OF NATIONS,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol45/iss3/2