Article 31(3)(c) VCLT and the Principle of Systemic Integration

Normative Shadows in Plato’s Cave

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In Article 31(3)(c) VCLT and the Principle of Systemic Integration: Normative Shadows in Plato’s Cave the author tackles a provision on treaty interpretation that has risen in prominence, Article 31(3)(c) VCLT. This article, which enshrines the principle of systemic integration, and its exact scope has become and continues to be a hotly debated subject in academic and judicial circles.
Through an examination of both its written and unwritten elements, the author argues that the ‘proximity criterion’ is the optimal way of understanding and utilizing this provision, that conflict resolution principles may be of use within Article 31(3)(c) and finally, that the principle of systemic integration is indispensable not only for interpreting treaty provisions but customary international law as well.

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Biographical Note

Panos Merkouris, Ph.D. (Queen Mary), is a Lecturer on Public International Law at the University of Groningen. He has published extensively on the law of treaties and treaty interpretation, including Treaty Interpretation and the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties: 30 Years on (2010).

Table of contents

Contents

Foreword 2
Preface 3
Acknowledgments 4
Abbreviations 10
Table of Cases 15
Table of Treaties 44
Table of Other Primary Authorities & Documents 48
Prolegomena 55

Part I: Article 31(3)(c) and the Principle of Systemic Integration from a Normative Point of View 66

Chapter I: The Elements of Article 31(3)(c) of the VCLT and the Principle of Systemic Integration 66
I. Introduction 67
II. Ordinary Meaning and Context of Article 31(3)(c) of the VCLT: An Article 31 – based Interpretation 68
III. Preparatory Work of the VCLT and pre-ILC Documents as other Supplementary Means: An Article 32 – based Interpretation 75
IV. Jurisprudence (‘other Supplementary Means of Interpretation’) as ‘Determinative’ of the Content of Article 31(3)(c): The ‘Proximity Criterion’ Revealed 90

Chapter II: Article 31(3)(c) and Intertemporality 145
I. Introduction 145
II. Debating Intertemporality During the Travaux Préparatoires of the VCLT 147
III. Intertemporal Law: Between Stability and Change 162
IV. Conclusion 196

Part II: Article 31(3)(c) VCLT and the Principle of Systemic Integration from a Systemic Point of View 198

Chapter III: Principles of Conflict Resolution within the Interpretative Process of Article 31(3)(c) 199
I. Definition 202
II. Hierarchy – Jus Cogens 209
III. Limitations of Jus Cogens 213
IV. Conflict Clauses 215
V. Limitations of Conflict Clauses 218
VI. Lex Posterior Derogat Priori 223
VII. Limitations of the Lex Posterior Principle 228
VIII. Lex Specialis Derogat Generali 236
IX. Limitations of the Lex Specialis Principle 240
X. The Relationship between the Lex Posterior and Lex Specialis Principles: Antagonism or Complementarity? 242
XI. Principles of Conflict Resolution within the Interpretative Process of Article 31(3)(c) 245
XII. Conclusion 254

Chapter IV: Interpretation of Customary International Law by Reference to the Customary Law Equivalent of Article 31(3)(c) (Article 31(3)(c) CIL) 256
I. Introduction 256
II. Is Interpretation of Customary International Law Possible? 257
III. Methods of Interpretation of Customary International Law 284
IV. Conclusion 316

Concluding Remarks 319
Bibliography 324
Index 346

Readership

All interested in treaty interpretation and the sources of international law. This would include students, academics, practitioners an judges alike.

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