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Tags Current Affairs


Date: 07 January 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous


Following  President Donald Trump’s threat to attack sites that were important to Iran and Iranian culture, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that US threatens to commit new breaches of JUS COGENS.



Most states and international organisations accept the principle of jus cogens, which dates back to Roman times. These norms cannot be offset by a separate treaty between parties intending to do so, since they hold fundamental values.



  • JUS COGENS or ius cogens, meaning “compelling law” in Latin, are rules in international law that are peremptory or authoritative, and from which states cannot deviate. 

  • The jus cogens rules have been sanctioned by the Vienna Conventions on the Law of Treaties of 1969 and 1986. According to both Conventions, a treaty is void if it breaches jus cogens rules.

  • Article 64 of the 1986 Convention, “Emergence of a new peremptory norm of general international law (jus cogens)”, says: “If a new peremptory norm of general international law emerges, any existing treaty which is in conflict with that norm becomes void and terminates.”

  • So far, an exhaustive list of jus cogens rules does not exist. However, the prohibition of slavery, genocide, racial discrimination, torture, and the right to self-determination are recognised norms.

  • The prohibition against apartheid is also recognised as a jus cogens rule, from which no derogation is allowed, since apartheid is against the basic principles of the United Nations.

Vienna Convention on Law of Treaties

  • The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT) is an international agreement regulating treaties between states.

  • Known as the "treaty on treaties", it establishes comprehensive rules, procedures, and guidelines for how treaties are defined, drafted, amended, interpreted, and generally operate.

  • The Convention was adopted and opened to signature on 23 May 1969, and entered into force on 27 January 1980. It has been ratified by 116 states as of January 2018. Some non-ratifying parties, such as the United States, recognize parts of it as a restatement of customary law and binding upon them as such.

  • The VCLT is regarded as one of the most important instruments in treaty law, and remains an authoritative guide in disputes over treaty interpretation.  India is neither a signatory nor has ratified the Vienna Convention on Law of Treaties.

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