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Jus cogens

Jus cogens is a Latin term that means “compelling law”. It refers to a fundamental and widely accepted principle of international law. Jus cogens norms are considered absolute rules or norms from which no exceptions are permitted. They are the highest level of legal norms in international law and are considered binding on all states, regardless of whether they have ratified any specific treaties or agreements.

Some common examples of jus cogens norms include:

  1. Prohibition of genocide: The absolute prohibition of genocide, which is defined in the 1948 Genocide Convention, is considered a jus cogens norm. Genocide means acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group.
  2. Prohibition of slavery and torture: The absolute prohibition of slavery, forced labor, and torture is also considered jus cogens. These norms are enshrined in various international treaties and customary international law.
  3. Right to self-determination: The right of peoples to self-determination, as recognized in the United Nations Charter and various international instruments, is considered a fundamental principle of jus cogens. It includes the right of people to freely determine their political status, pursue their economic, social, and cultural development, and exercise their sovereignty.
  4. Prohibition of aggression: The prohibition of the use of force or aggression against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, as stated in the United Nations Charter, is another example of a jus cogens norm.

Jus cogens norms are so fundamental and important to the international legal order that they cannot be violated or overridden by any state or international agreement. Any treaty or agreement that contradicts a jus cogens norm is considered void under international law. States have a duty to uphold and respect these norms, and international organizations and courts may also enforce them. Violations of jus cogens norms can lead to international legal consequences, including sanctions and prosecution of individuals responsible for such violations.

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