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9 The Residual Receptacle

From: The Discourse on Customary International Law

Jean d'Aspremont

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 20 April 2024

Subject(s):
Human rights — International criminal law — Customary international law — General principles of international law

This chapter explores customary international law that is constantly approached as the residual receptacle for international legal obligations that cannot be grounded in treaty law. It highlights the discursive performance that presupposes a sort of fetishization of the treaty as the first go-to source of international law as well as the idea that customary international law is second-best. It also cites the discursive performance that led some observers to claim that customary international law has become the generic category for practically all binding non-treaty standards. The chapter draws on international human rights law and international criminal law and highlights the discursive performance that is witnessed by customary international law. It formulates some observations on the consequences for general principles of law of the common understanding of customary international law as a residual receptacle for non-treaty international legal obligations.

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