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The Statute recognizes General Customs but in practice, Courts accept local or regional customs amongst a group or between two or more countries. Local customs may supplement or derogate from General Customs.
Peremptory Norm A Norm of general international law that is accepted and recognized by international community as a whole as a norm for which no derogation is permitted and which can be modified only by a subsequent norm of general international law having the same character. (Jus cognes).
According to Article 53 of Vienna Convention, a treaty is void if it conflicts with Peremptory Norm.
A Valid Custom should be:
- Conformity with Statute Law
Essential features of Customs
- Confirmatory with Statue Law
- Immemorial antiquity (Long duration)
Sources of International Customs
- Diplomatic relations between States
- Practice of International organs
- State laws, decisions of State Courts and State military or administrative practices
- Treaties between States
Relationship with Usages
Usages are considered the first stage of custom. They mean a long established use of a matter, which States repeat to perform. Usages, on long usage, will become Custom.
Usages may conflict with one another. Customs do not.
Related Cases / Recent Cases / Case Laws
- United Kingdom v Iceland; Germany v Iceland), ICJ Reports (1974), p. 3: Popularly known as the Fisheries Jurisdiction cases. It is a customary rule that States had the right to exclusive fishing within a twelve nautical mile zone, emerged from the practice of states.
- Nicaragua v United States of America, ICJ Reports (1986), p. 14: For a usage to become custom, there must also be a general recognition by States that the practice is settled enough to amount to an obligation binding on States under international law. This is known as Opinio juris
- North Sea Continental Shelf Case
- Asylum Case
- West Rand Central Gold Mining Co. Ltd
- Anglo-Norwegian Fisheries Case
- Section 3(a) of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 also defined 'custom'