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Virtuous Interpretation

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Chapter Summary

Curiouser and curiouser, is the circumstance that over the last decade or so international lawyers have come to be obsessed by rules on treaty interpretation. During the two decades in which the International Law Commission (ILC) paved the way for the Vienna Convention, its special rapporteurs clearly had low expectations concerning rules on interpretation. The author's main proposition is a plea for virtuous interpretation, as opposed to the sort of virtuoso interpretation that could result from applying rules on interpretation. Section II discusses the difficulties of thinking in terms of rules on interpretation; section III analyzes the question of the ostensible customary nature of the Vienna Convention's rules on interpretation; section IV, sketches how these rules by their very nature are of little concrete help. Section V sketches the contours of what the author calls a virtuous approach to interpretation, while section VI concludes.

Keywords: International Law Commission (ILC); ostensible customary nature; Vienna Convention; virtuoso interpretation; Virtuous Interpretation



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