Definition Of Customary International Law

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Within the scope of customary international law there are some varying norms that the international law community must deal with, which can be broken down into three different categories from most important to least important: 1) norms in which the international community allows no derogation, these are known as peremptory norms or jus cogens, 2) norms that might allow for derogation, and 3) norms that aren’t binding but some might argue should be. The classification of these customary norms is based off of both state practice and opinio juris. In order to determine state practice the states may look towards each other and how they react in similar scenarios. One debate surrounding this area is determining how many states need to sign off on an action to determine that sufficient state practice is occurring. Two sides of the argument are the actual number states versus the regionalization of the states. Opinio juris is defined as a state engaging in a certain activity because they believe they are under legal obligation to act. The idea of peremptory norms is older than modern international law itself (113). The idea of peremptory norms stems from the belief that certain actions are so heinous that in order for these to be prevented states shall not be allowed to derogate from adherence. The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties shows the importance of peremptory norms in both Article 53 and 64. Article 53 states that a treaty is void if at the time of its
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