Evidence, Commentary, and Judgment

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1.2.2 Customary Norms of International Law

The lack of specificity in the Just War Doctrine was a shortcoming, as was the absence of any ritual of assent by which a sovereign authority acknowledged its duty to be bound in definite ways. International jurists collected the body of practices that governments accepted as binding upon themselves, and set forth these rules and principles beneath the label of customary international law. These rules and principles helped shape the direction of treaty law, and, as well, provided legally accepted yardsticks for measuring claims about the status of new weapons and tactics. Such rules and principles provide a normative background against which to evaluate the controversy about the lawfulness of nuclear weapons and about various doctrines governing their use.

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© 1985-2005 Geoffrey Darnton. All rights reserved.