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Jus Cogens, obligations Erga Omnes and international criminal responsibility

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Chapter Summary

Discussion on the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) led to the necessity of posing some new questions on the position of peremptory norms in international law. The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties of 1969 introduced the concept of jus cogens into international law. The issue of the obligations erga omnes constitutes one of the most sensitive problems in international law. Because of the lack of a centralized international law enforcement authority, the rule that every state has the right to define its international legal position remains still in force. The judgment of the English House of Lords in the Pinochet case is of special interest, as the problem of criminal responsibility of individuals for grave violations of international law was confronted with an issue of personal immunity of heads of state, combined with another problem of (quasi-) universal jurisdiction.

Keywords: International Criminal Court (ICC); international law; jus cogens; obligations erga omnes ; Vienna Convention



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