Customary International Law: The Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow of General International Law

Luigi Condorelli

in Realizing Utopia

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199691661
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738593 | DOI:
Customary International Law: The Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow of General International Law

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Three developments may be observed in current international relations. First of all, in fact courts, and in particular the International Court of Justice, tend to attach overriding importance to opinion juris over usus. Secondly, at present a broad correspondence can be found between general customary rules and those provisions written down in large international conventions of (basically) universal character. Thirdly, among customary rules of international law some have emerged that have a special legal force: they may not be derogated from by treaty law. There are three possible ways of improving upon the current role of customary law. First, the widely lamented fragmentation of international law in separate and self-contained legal regimes, in fact depends, in large measure, on the as it were ‘fragmented eye’ of the observer, rather than on the fragmentation of the observed object. Hence, the best way to counter this fragmentation would reside in training practitioners in general international law, rather than in (or in addition to) specialist areas. Secondly, it is necessary to promote compliance with jus cogens, by ensuring that all members of the international community have effective tools at their disposal for the removal of treaties affecting the fundamental rights of each and all. Thirdly, mechanisms should be put in place for monitoring compliance of Security Council decisions with the principles of the UN Charter including jus cogens.

Keywords: international relations; International Court of Justice; customary law; jus cogens

Chapter.  5535 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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