General Principles of International Law (jus cogens)

International law is a collection of complex and developing rules, which governs the relations between nations.  International law provides guidelines to sovereign states and international organizations and some individuals.  The range of subjects directly concerned with international law has widened considerably, moving beyond the questions of war, peace, and diplomacy to include human rights, trade issues, space law, and international organizations.

Article 38 (1) of the International Court of Justice’s statute identifies three sources of international law: treaties, customary international law, and general principles of international law (jus cogens).

The general principles of law recognized by civilized nations are identified by the International Court of Justice’s statute as one of the important source of international law.  These principles essentially address international issues, which are not already subject either to treaty provisions or to binding customary rules.  Such general principles may arise either through municipal law or through international law.  Such laws are generally procedural in nature.

The most important principle of international law is that of good faith.  It is the foundation of treaty law.  Another important general principle is that of equity, which permits international law to have a degree of flexibility in its application and enforcement.


Inside General Principles of International Law (jus cogens)