public international law

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A clause frequently included in bilateral investment treaties ("BITs") which provides that a host state shall treat all of its trading partners equally. Under such a clause, if the host state lowers a tariff for one trading partner, it must lower it for all trading partners.

Self determination (international law)

Self-determination denotes the legal right of people to decide their own destiny in the international order.  Self-determination is a core principle of international law, arising from customary international law, but also recognized as a general principle of law, and enshrined in a number of international treatie

uti possidetis juris

uti possidetis juris (UPJ) is a principle of customary international law that serves to preserve the boundaries of colonies emerging as States.  Originally applied to establish the boundaries of decolonized territories in Latin America, UPJ has become a rule of wider application, notably in Africa.  The policy behind the principle has been explained by the

Customary International Law


Customary international law is one component of international law. Customary international law refers to international obligations arising from established international practices, as opposed to obligations arising from formal written conventions and treaties. Customary international law results from a general and consistent practice of states that they follow from a sense of legal obligation.

Malcolm N. Shaw, International Law 80 (5th ed., Cambridge, 2003).

International humanitarian law

International humanitarian law (law of war) is a field of international law regulating armed conflict between states, and more recently, between states and informal groups and individuals.  See Jean Pictet, Development and Principles of International Humanitarian Law (1985).  International humanitarian law governs both the legality of justifications for war (jus ad bellum, or when states can resort to war) and the legality of warti

  • See Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law (available on GoogleBooks);
  • Int'l Committee of the Red Cross, International Humanitarian Law: Answers to Your Questions (2004).


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