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Introduction to International Law: Background

Sources of International Law

Article 38 (1) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice, available on the ICJ web site and at 59 Stat. 1031,1060 (via Hein Online), states:

The Court, whose function is to decide in accordance with international law such disputes as are submitted to it, shall apply:

  • International 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.

Subject Guide