The International Law Commission and Community Interests
KFG Working Paper Series, No. 7, Berlin Potsdam Research Group “The International Rule of Law – Rise or Decline?”
22 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2018
Date Written: March 2017
The paper looks at community interests in international law from the perspective of the International Law Commission. As the topics of the Commission are diverse, the outcome of its work is often seen as providing a sense of direction regarding general aspects of international law. After defining what he understands by “community interests”, the author looks at both secondary and primary rules of international law, as they have been articulated by the Commission, as well as their relevance for the recognition and implementation of community interests. The picture which emerges only partly fits the widespread narrative of “from self-interest to community interest”. Whereas the Commission has recognized, or developed, certain primary rules which more fully articulate community interests, it has been reluctant to reformulate secondary rules of international law, with the exception of jus cogens. The Commission has more recently rather insisted that the traditional State-consent-oriented secondary rules concerning the formation of customary international law and regarding the interpretation of treaties continue to be valid in the face of other actors and forms of action which push towards the recognition of more and thicker community interests.
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