German-French-Polish Colloquium, Berlin, October 2004

It was the objective of the Berlin Colloquium of October 2004 to identify the specific legal meaning of the fundamental rules of the international community, which are mostly designated as jus cogens or obligations erga omnes. In recent years, a certain tendency has manifested itself according to which in case of violation of such fundamental rules the classic principles governing the legal consequences of international wrongful acts should yield so that full effect is ensured for the norms breached. To test this contention, a certain number of issues were analysed with a view to finding out which legal consequences may be deemed to be justified. Instead of considering the problematique in general terms it is necessary to focus on specific issues. In particular it is necessary to distinguish clearly between the primary rules proper (e.g. prohibition of genocide) and the rules determining the secondary consequences flowing from their breach. An illustrative example is the question of whether in case of grave violations of human rights States lose the jurisdictional immunity which they normally enjoy before the tribunals of foreign States. It emerges from a detailed examination of this question that generally to deny jurisdictional immunity leaves aside important arguments of positive law and legal policy. Similar studies were made by other rapporteurs on non-recognition as a mandatory consequence of such fundamental violations, on the amount of compensation due and the nullity of treaties. On the whole, the Colloquium has confirmed the thesis that the modern tendencies overrate the importance of jus cogens and obligations erga omnes.

The work of the Colloquium is reflected in a book published in English and French (Christian Tomuschat/Jean-Marc Thouvenin, The Fundamental Rules of the International Community. Jus cogens and obligations erga omnes, Nijhoff 2006).

Principal Investigators
Tomuschat, Christian Prof. em. Dr. Dr. h.c. (Details) (Public Law Specializing in International Law and European Law)

Duration of Project
Start date: 09/2004
End date: 06/2005

Last updated on 2020-10-03 at 16:37