Part II Evolution and Theoretical Bases of the Law of International Watercourses, 5 The Contribution of the Law of Navigation
Stephen C. McCaffrey
- Freshwater — Lakes — Rivers
This chapter examines the law of navigation on international waterways, its development, and the contribution it has made to the law of international watercourses more generally. The rules of international law regarding navigation on international waterways are most highly developed in Europe. The development occurred—to some extent—bilaterally but was consolidated and widely dispersed by the major peace treaties beginning with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. These rules provided broadly for freedom of navigation, first for riparians then for all nations. In the absence of a contrary treaty regime or inconsistent state practice regarding a particular waterway or area, the principle of freedom of navigation for states riparian to an international waterway should be presumed to be the prevailing standard under general international law. The content of this principle is that which has developed through the consistent practice of states over nearly two centuries.