Conclusion 1: General Principles Are ‘Principles’ and ‘Rules’

Sub-conclusions – General principles are rules that may be either broad or specific

  1. General principles may have exceptions
  2. General principles may or may not have names; how the Court refers to a general principle in its jurisprudence varies
  3. Methods are not a modality of the sources of international law.

Conclusion 2: General Principles Are ‘Principles’ and ‘Rules’ of International Law

Sub-conclusions – General principles are part of the positive/existing international law

  1. The Court applies only international law
  2. Domestic laws, including ‘domestic principles’, do not directly form part of international law
  3. Doctrines and theories do not constitute general principles because they are not part of international law.

Conclusion 3: General Principles Apply to the Entire International Community

Sub-conclusions – General principles are binding and form part of the general international law

  1. General principles create rights and obligations
  2. The Court’s interpretation of international law is valid for the entire international community
  3. General principles apply equally and universally to all States and other international actors.

Conclusion 4: General Principles Are Ascertained with the Court’s Opinio Juris

Sub-conclusions – General principles are ascertained with the Court’s opinio juris

  1. States do not actively participate in the Court’s ascertainment of general principles
  2. Individual judges cannot ascertain general principles for the entire international community.

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General Principles of Law Recognized by Civilized Nations (1922-2018)

The Evolution of the Third Source of International Law Through the Jurisprudence of the Permanent Court of International Justice and the International Court of Justice