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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law [MPEPIL]

Obligations erga omnes

Jochen A Frowein

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved.date: 22 April 2021

Subject(s):
Erga omnes obligations — State practice — Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties — Treaties, effect for third states — Humanitarian intervention — Reparation — Aggression — Countermeasures

Published under the auspices of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law under the direction of Professor Anne Peters (2021–) and Professor Rüdiger Wolfrum (2004–2020). 

1 The International Court of Justice (ICJ) recognized in Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Co Ltd (Belgium v Spain) (Second Phase) (Barcelona Traction Case) that there are two different categories of obligations under public international law. The Court stated that there are ‘obligations of a State towards the international community as a whole’ which are ‘the concern of all States’ and for whose protection all States have a ‘legal interest’. These obligations are fundamentally different from those existing vis-à-vis another State.2 Only one year before the...
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