The Possibilities and Legitimacy of Non-State Participation in the Formation of Customary Law

in International Community Law Review

Non-state actors can contribute to shaping customary law indirectly, through inspiration and pressure, or formally when so empowered by States. Decisions on granting non-state actors customary law-making capacities must be critically decided on a case-by-case basis, in light of the legal interests at stake, risks of making regulation subservient to their interests, and legitimacy and effectiveness considerations. Since non-state involvement in the formation or change of customary law is not limited to direct law-making capacities, different strategies can be used to both receive their input and promote their acceptance of and respect of customary law. Internal and international democratization of State decisions and collective law-making are essential if the (currently) mostly-State-centric system of custom determination is to be fair. This demands a duty to examine non-state proposals in good faith.

  • 6

    Joel P. Trachtman, “Reports of the Death of Treaty Are Premature, but Customary International Law May Have Outlived Its Usefulness”, AJIL Unbound (2014); Michael P. Scharf, “Accelerated Formation of Customary International Law”, 20 ILSA Journal of International & Comparative Law (2014) pp. 308–310.

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  • 14

    See Malcolm N. Shaw, op. cit., pp. 8, 11 of section ‘3 Sources’ (Kobo eBook version); Antonio Remiro-Brotóns et al., Derecho Internacional: Curso general, op. cit., p. 205.

  • 20

    See Malcolm N. Shaw, op. cit., p. 33 of section ‘3 Sources’ (Kobo eBook version); International Law Association, Committee on Formation of Customary (General) International Law, Statement of Principles Applicable to the Formation of General Customary International Law, Final Report of the Committee, London Conference (2000) p. 19; Antonio Remiro-Brotóns et al., Derecho Internacional: Curso general, op. cit., p. 243; International Law Commission, Michael Wood, Special Rapporteur, Second report on identification of customary international law, A/CN.4/672, 22 May 2014, paras. 43–44; footnote 2, supra.

  • 36

    See Jordan J. Paust, op. cit., pp. 1002–1004; Math Noortmann and Cedric Ryngaert, “Introduction: Non-State Actors: International Law’s Problematic Case”, in M. Noortmann and C. Ryngaert (eds.), Non-State Actor Dynamics in International Law (2010) p. 3; Non-State Actors Committee of the International Law Association, Non-State Actors in International Law: Lawmaking and Participation Rights, Second Report of the Committee, Sofia Conference (2012) p. 5; Luis Pérez-Prat Durbán, op. cit., pp. 27–31, 34–38; International Law Commission, Michael Wood, Special Rapporteur, Second report on identification of customary international law, op. cit., para. 45.

  • 38

    Malcom N. Shaw, op. cit., pp. 35, 37–38 of section ‘3 Sources’ (Kobo eBook version); Antonio Remiro-Brotóns et al., Derecho Internacional: Curso general, op. cit., p. 207.

  • 40

    Hugh Thirlway, op. cit., p. 100.

  • 41

    See Malcom N. Shaw, op. cit., pp. 27–32 of section ‘3 Sources’ (Kobo eBook version); Hugh Thirlway, op. cit., p. 99.

  • 42

    Hugh Thirlway, op. cit., p. 103.

  • 43

    See Andrea Bianchi, op. cit., pp. 190, 192–194, 198–203; Luis Pérez-Prat Durbán, op. cit., p. 27.

  • 48

    Fred Halliday, op. cit., p. 26; Daniel Thürer, op. cit., pp. 44, 46.

  • 51

    See Hugh Thirlway, op. cit., p. 98.

  • 52

    Jean-Marie Henckaerts, op. cit., pp. 478–450.

  • 64

    See Daniel Thürer, op. cit., p. 45; Pierre Calame, “Non-state actors and world governance”, Discussion paper (2008) pp. 1, 9–11, 19–20, 23.

  • 72

    Malcolm N. Shaw, op. cit., pp. 8, 11 of section ‘3 Sources’ (Kobo eBook version); Antonio Remiro-Brotóns et al., Derecho Internacional: Curso general, op. cit., p. 205.

  • 78

    See Harold H. Koh, op. cit., p. 2601.

  • 79

    Jordan J. Paust, op. cit., pp. 985, 1002.

  • 80

    Janneke Nijman, op. cit., pp. 111, 134–144.

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