Sample Law Essay

Jus Cogens

 Article 53 of the Vienna Convention of 1969 on the Laws of Treaty (VCLT) defines Jus Cogens as the norms that are accepted or recognized by the international community as the whole norm. There is no derogation is permitted on this matter, and it cannot be modified by the subsequent norms of the general laws of international nature. Therefore, Jus Cogens are put in place not necessary for justice, but to maintain international order. No treaty can be said to be in conflict with Jus Cogens (Lagerwall, 2015). It is for various reasons that Jus Cogens does not necessarily follow, or better said, cannot be seen as clashing with the functioning principle of voluntarism in international law (IL).


Jus Cogens do not interfere with voluntarism since they are clearly defined in terms of their role in international law: they serve public-interest and policy functions. The norms are located in the non-derogable part of international public policy. In this case, they serve to protect the fundamental common interests that are shared by all human beings. Thus, jus Cogens have the common-interest character, which defines their foundation as the universal community interest (Bělohlávek & Naděžda, 2012). They are symbolized through the prohibition of the violation of certain rights even if for the sole purpose of sole disadvantage or to the detriment of individuals who cannot protect themselves. Moreover, jus Cogens help the international community to view the world as a legal community where all the individual members of all nations have a legitimate place. As demonstrated in Calder vs. Bull 1798, the ideas of natural justice cannot be regulated by some fixed standards. Due to the specified and definite roles of voluntarism and Ju’s Cogens laws, there is no point of interference between them (Weiss & Thouvenin, 2015). Jus Cogens play a fundamental role in protecting the rights of every country’s citizens within the international community.


Bělohlávek, A. J. & Naděžda R. (2012). Public policy and ordre public. New York, NY: Juris Publishing.

Lagerwall, A. (2015). Jus cogens. Oxford bibliographies. Retrieved from

Weiss, N. & Jean-Marc, T. (2015). The Influence of human rights on international law. Cham: Springer.

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