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  • Author or Editor: Anthony Carty x
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In: Time, History and International Law
In: Geistige Existenz
In: The Belt and Road Initiative and the Law of the Sea
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Abstract

Customary international law as a source of general law is given a primary place in Article 38 of the ICJ Statute. However, it is historically a concept created by legal doctrine. The very idea of custom supposes legal persons are natural persons living in a dynamic, evolving community. This was the assumption of the historical school of law in the 19th century when the concept of custom was developed. Now the dominant notion of legal personality is the State as an impersonal corporation and international legal theory (Brierly and D’Amato) can see well that the death of the historical school of law has to mean the death of the concept of custom. What should replace it? Two steps need to be taken in sequence. Firstly, following the Swedish realist philosopher Haegerstrom, we have to ascertain the precise constellations of the conflictual attitudes the populations of States have to the patterns of normativity which they project onto international society. Secondly, we should follow the virtue ethics jurisprudence of Paul Ricoeur and others, who develop a theory of critical legal doctrinal judgement, along the classical lines of Aristotle and Confucius, to challenge and sort out the prejudices of peoples into some reasonable shape, whereby these can be encouraged to understand and respect one another.

Then one will not have to endure so many silly interpretations of international law such as the one declaring that there are only rocks in the South China Sea and not islands. Such interpretations have nothing to do with the supposedly ordinary legal language analysis of a convention and the State practice surrounding it. They have to do entirely with a continued lack of respect by Western jurists for non-Western societies and nations.

In: The Korean Journal of International and Comparative Law
In: The Right to Development in International Law
In: Profane Zumutungen
In: The Non-Use of Force in International Law