Chapter 3: Hierarchy of norms in international law

A video tutorial from author Gleider Hernández introducing the topics in chapter 3 of International Law

Key points for reflection:

  • Hierarchy of norms: certain norms are elevated due to content
  • Hierarchy of sources: certain norms are elevated due to their provenance—from the source of their validity
  • Norms of jus cogens: norms that, by virtue of their content, are recognised by the international community of States as a whole
    • Have substantive legal effect on non-peremptory norms
    • They cannot be derogated from, and may void a treaty that breaches jus cogens, or affect the obligation of treaty norms
  • Obligations erga omnes: categories of obligations in which all States have a legal interest
    • Not a substantive characterisation; but a procedural device to confer standing on all States
    • Often map on to norms of jus cogens but can be different if provided for in a treaty (obligations erga omnes partes)