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ENVIRONMENT - March 9 Lecture Notes

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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
La Haine

POL 208 LECTURE NOTES Wed. March 9 lecture notes ENVIRONMENT Topic: Finish discussion of International Law + Environment Film The Cove The Four Sources of International Law - The statue of the international court of justice (ICJ) article 38: - the court, whose function is to decide in accordance with international law such disputes as are submitted to it shall apply: Conventions, whether general or particular, establishing rules expressly recognized by the contesting states; international custom, as evidence of a general practice accepted as law; The general principles of law recognized by civilized nations Subject to the provisions of article 59, judicial decisions and the teachings of the most highly qualified publicists of the various nations as subsidiary means for the determination of rules of law Source II: Custom - A positivist source - A need to review and establish a widely accepted practice. - In establishing what is practiced in the international arena, words count less than acts. We want to seewhat countries do, not what they say. - Other questions we have to ask ourselves: How often (do countries engage in this practice)? Who adopts the practice (power, relevance)?Who protests? Is it a general practice or does it contain a specific geographic region (there might be different practices in Europe than South Asia)? How would we know when a practice becomes something that is legally binding Just because its repeated over and over, doesnt mean it becomes legally an international custom. In order to do that, we need to define another component, and its a subjective component: Opinio Juris the belief that a behaviour was carried out because the actor saw it as a legal obligation. For something to become customary, we need two components: a practice thats carried out regularly, and an understanding that were doing that because its the legal thing to do (opinio juris). Thus, even if were violating it, were still showing that its the law. We know were dealing with a legal issue. Practice + Opinio Juris = custom Jus Cogens We have certain customs in international relations (either customary or codified) that go above customary law. We refer to them as Jus Cogens a small group of issuesprinciples that are so fundamental that everyone agrees on them. They are universally accepted norms. When this happens, they fall under universal jurisdiction.
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