Geneva Conventions as Customary Law

Theodor Meron

in War Crimes Law Comes of Age

Published in print January 1999 | ISBN: 9780198268567
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191683534 | DOI:
Geneva Conventions as Customary Law

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This chapter argues that both states and scholarly opinion in general will accept judicial decisions confirming the customary law character of some of the provisions of the Geneva Conventions as authoritative statements of the law. Eventually, the focus of attention will shift from the inquiry into whether certain provisions reflect customary law to the conclusions of judicial decisions establishing that status. As far as law making is concerned, the starting point is, of course, the practice of states. Yet in non-codifying multilateral treaties even outside the humanitarian law field, norms and values that differ from the actual practice of states are commonly asserted. For human rights or humanitarian conventions, i.e., conventions whose object is to humanize the behaviour of states, groups, and persons, the gap between the norms stated and actual practice tends to be especially wide.

Keywords: international law; Geneva Conventions; customary law; judicial decisions

Chapter.  11173 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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