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Panos Merkouris

Panos Merkouris

Panos Merkouris

Panos Merkouris

Panos Merkouris

Abstract

The Diversification and expansion of International Law has sparked a series of debates on the present status and future of International Law; even more so, since the ILC decided to tackle the issue of fragmentation. One of the areas of research and controversy has been Article 31(3)(c) of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties which, arguably, enshrines the principle of systemic integration. The aim of this article is to explore the evolution of Article 31(3)(c) from its first inception by the forefathers of international law up to the finalization of the text of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. By mapping the critical arguments in the three main fora of debate (i.e the Institut de Droit International, the International Law Commission and the Vienna Conference on the Law of treaties) what arises is a series of conclusions with respect to certain aspects of Article 31(3)(c) as well as certain recurring themes in the nature and progress of the discussions. All of the above will show that the drafting history of Article 31(3)(c) seems to suggest that the relevant provision was meant to serve a purpose expressed more concisely by the symbol of Ouroboros rather than of a mere "master-key" to the house of International Law.

Panos Merkouris

Panos Merkouris

International courts have at times interpreted the customary rules on interpretation. This is interesting because what is being interpreted is: i) rules of interpretation, which sounds dangerously tautological, and ii) customary law, the interpretation of which has not been the object of critical analysis. The present paper, aims to fill this lacuna and prove that not only interpretation of customary rules of interpretation is not problematic (it is neither tautological nor impossible), but also that it is a process completely distinguishable from that of formation/identification of customary international law. Whereas the latter determines the existence of a customary rule and has to grapple with ‘practice’ and ‘opinio juris’, interpretation of customary rules concerns itself with the rules after they have come into existence. I will then demonstrate that customary rules of interpretation have consistently been interpreted in international jurisprudence and that the interpretative process bears certain similarities to treaty interpretation.