It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Jus Cogens!

6 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2010 Last revised: 18 Aug 2010

Date Written: 1990


What we require - like the third bowl of soup in the story of the three bears - is a theory of jus cogens that is Just Right. I do not know if such a theory is possible. I don't even know if one is conceivable. But if someone conceives it, that person deserves the very next International Oscar. To qualify for the award, the theory must answer the following questions: (l) What is the utility of a norm of jus cogens (apart from its rhetorical value as a sort of exclamation point)? (2) How does a purported norm of jus cogens arise? (3) Once one arises, how can international law change it or get rid of it?

Keywords: jus cogens, norms in international law

JEL Classification: K33, K10, K30

Suggested Citation

D'Amato, Anthony, It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Jus Cogens! (1990). Connecticut Journal of International Law, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 1-6, 1990; Northwestern Public Law Research Paper 10-30. Available at SSRN:

Anthony D'Amato (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

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