This article is devoted to current practices concerning the application of general principles of law in the light of their function in the international legal system. As a means of the application and interpretation of both treaty and customary law, general principles of law perform a crucial function in the system of international law, which is understood as set of interrelated rules and principles – norms. The role played by general principles of law in the international legal order has been discussed by academia for years now. Initially they were used to ensure the completeness of the system of international law. However, at the current stage of development of international law, when many of them have been codified, they are usually invoked by international courts for the interpretation of treaties and customary law and/or the determination of their scope. This means that despite their ongoing codification they do not lose their character as general principles and are still applied by international courts in the process of judicial argumentation and the interpretation of other norms to which they are pertinent. References by international courts to general principles of law perform the allimportant function of maintaining the coherence of the international legal order, which is faced with the twin challenges of fragmentation and the proliferation of international courts.
This article presents the Polish practice of promulgation of international agreements since the end of World War II. It shows that the practice is at variance with the law and makes it difficult to determine the current legal situation vis-à-vis international agreements in Poland. In the conclusions the author puts forward de lege ferenda proposals which could improve the Polish promulgation practice.
The aim of the study is to examine the importance of economic argumentation in international maritime disputes. The paper first explains what the international maritime disputes, their sources and types are, what principles they are subjected to. It also established what should be understood by economic arguments, emphasizing their relative nature, as well as showing the potential of the Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982 as a basis for formulating economic argumentation. The importance of economic argumentation was considered in relation to international disputes regarding the legal status of maritime territories, delimitation of maritime zones, power over the sea and use of the sea. Research, carried out, leads to the following conclusions: 1) economic arguments are present in the reasoning of the parties as well as dispute settlement bodies. However, their probative value is limited; 2) in disputes related to the status of maritime features economic reasoning appears in the context of necessity to demonstrate that they can be a basis for delimitation; 3) in delimitation disputes, addressing economic arguments is more complex and contradictory. Economic arguments may be useful in the second phase of delimitation when relevant circumstances are considered. However, the existing practice shows that the range of economic arguments is limited (they cannot serve as a reason for correction of natural inequalities). International jurisprudence denies taking into account arguments based on level of economic development or economic or financial difficulties of a state (except for the catastrophic repercussions for the livelihood and economic wellbeing of the population), the needs of economic development or performance of economic activities (mining, fishing, shipping). An argument associated with assurance of deposit unity is of some importance (when resources are known or readily ascertainable); 4) in disputes concerning the power over the sea some weight is held by an argument associated with the establishment of economic authority, in particular, of a regulatory and control nature; 5) in disputes related to the use of the sea, the importance of economic reasoning is varied. In disputes concerning the prompt release, the role of the economic argument is limited. On the contrary, it is relevant in disputes related to the violation of rights and economic interests of States and people, if they are protected by international law.
International law reflects systemic conditions compatible with its essence, which means that a space must exist inside the borders of that order for the presence of the phenomenon of general principles. The assumption that international law is a legal system ipso facto means that general principles must exist within its borders. A general principle of law is a necessary element of every legal order. It is a form and a tool in which the efforts of the individual seeking to comprehend a given phenomenon are materialized through imposing order on it rather than by breaking it down into unconnected and independent elements. Since law is an expression of order, law therefore applies general principles. The systematicity of law, and therefore of international law as well, creates the primary source of the binding force of any norm. Considerations of natural law or positive law justifications for the presence of general principles in international law are of little consequence, as the source of general principles is the systemic nature of the law. Order and hierarchy are part of the rationalized system in which norms of law present themselves. This dependency applies also to norms of international law. The role of the judge is to fill in the appropriate normative content (general principles) in fields constituting at one and the same time both a necessary element and a consequence of the systemic character of the international legal order. Within this context the principle of good faith constitutes one of the bases for considerations concerning the extent of the international legal order. The extent of international law reaches as far as the extent to which evidence of good faith are present among the subjects of international law. The impossibility of describing relations between two states by the use of the determinants of good faith, translated in turn into a normative general principle, determinates the limits of international law.
This article examines the phenomenon of internal displacement from the perspective of the existing legal framework and those measures which should guarantee protection for internally displaced populations worldwide. With this aim in mind, the article begins by assessing the role of international law and try to ascertain which legal norms are applicable to protect internally displaced persons. As a second step, it analyzes the question of responsibility for the protection of internally displaced persons, i.e. whether this lies with the state of origin through its national law, or rather with the international community, and examines the relevant provisions of international law. While concluding and identifying the existing gaps in the current legislation, the article demonstrates that internally displaced persons should become the objects of a specific system of law and legal protection. At the same time, the text intends to contribute to the contemporary debate promoting efforts to strengthen the protection of internally displaced persons and to disseminate knowledge about this vulnerable group of people.
This article provides an overview of the approach taken by the International Court of Justice and its predecessor, the Permanent Court of International Justice, to questions of municipal law. Beginning with an outline of the theoretical framework, it discusses the conventional position that domestic law is a factual issue for the Court, before considering the ways in which the two Courts have utilised municipal law. It also considers to what extent the Court employs domestic law in ascertaining international legal rules.
There are different meanings and functions of what is called a “general principle of law.” This article seeks to address their importance as the basis for the systemic integration of the international legal order. When international law is considered as a legal system, its normative unity and completeness seems essential. This article argues that general principles of law are a necessary, although less visible, element of international legal practice and reasoning, which secure the systemic integration and long-lasting underpinnings of international law. In this sense they may be seen as the gentle guardians of international law as a legal system.
In the 21st century ageism is becoming the most widely spread phenomenon. It has become so extensive that presently many more seniors in Europe are exposed to ageism than other people to sexism or racism. Contrary to other vulnerable groups, the elderly do not enjoy any binding instrument that could protect them and their dignity against ageism in the same way that women and racial groups are protected against sexism and racism. Unfortunately, the UN General Assembly resolution, supposed to be a first step to drawing up such a convention, was adopted with a significant number of abstentions, leaving the fate of a potential treaty on the rights of the elderly uncertain. On the other hand, in 2014 the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted a new recommendation, and in June 2015 members of the Organisation of American States adopted a treaty protecting the elder’s rights. Taking into account these new circumstances, the idea underlying this article is to investigate the ability of international instruments to limit ageism and protect older persons’ dignity, as well as to indicate existing gaps.
The present paper discusses the new Polish law on higher education in the context of the contrasted global and academic paradigms of university funding, governance, and organization. Its point of departure is the advent of international comparative data in higher education, the measurability of individuals, academic units and institutions in terms of research output, and the emergence of a new social contract between the state and universities. The key concepts used to evaluate the new law are competition in science, academic income structure and academic knowledge production structure, internationalists and locals in science, and vertical differentiation in national higher education systems. The new law is assessed in the context of the original reform proposal suggested by the national team of experts led by the present author and its long-term strategic choices are discussed in more detail, including a changing system of institutional evaluation, a revised system of academic degrees, and new excellence-focused national funding schemes.
This article discusses the classical question whether general principles of law form a separate source of international law. To this end it adopts the method of a posteriori analysis, examining the normative nature of various principles of law one by one. This analysis leads to the conclusion that only some principles have a normative nature, while others lack it.
This article analyses the practice of the Polish administrative courts with respect to application of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, based on a case study of the judgment of the Voivodship Administrative Court in Warsaw of 6 May 2014 (case no. II SA/Wa 117/14), which concerned the recognition of distance learning degrees awarded by Ukrainian universities pursuant to the 1972 Prague Convention. It is argued herein that the reasoning of the court suffers from four major drawbacks: 1) it is at variance with the text, object and purpose of the Prague Convention; 2) it does not take into account the practice in the application of that treaty; 3) it misinterprets the silence of the preparatory work to the Prague Convention on certain issues; and 4) it is inconsistent with international judicial decisions as regards the interpretation of the “special meaning” of one of the terms used in the Convention.
This article analyses the relationship between the Court of Justice and other international jurisdictions. In particular, it addresses the following question: To what extent is the Court of Justice ready to accept that some aspects of EU law are subject to the jurisdiction of an international body? The answer to this question requires analysis of the precise scope of the principle of autonomy of EU law as this principle could potentially constitute grounds on the basis of which the Court of Justice excludes the transfer of judicial competences to external bodies. For this reason, the article refers to the most important decisions in the field: Opinions 1/91 and 1/92, Opinion 1/09, Opinion 2/13, judgment in C-146/13 Spain v. Parliament and Council and judgment in C-284/14 Achmea. It also discusses the consequences of the application of Article 344 TFEU.
The concept of family reunification is well established in contemporary migration laws, at both the national and international levels. Focusing on international and EU law, in this article I argue that while existing provisions on family reunification are formulated in neutral language, from the gender point of view the enforcement of these substantively neutral rules may, in certain situations, result in discrimination, or at least bring about negative consequences, with respect to women in cases both when they are the sponsors of migration or the bearers of consequences of male migration. Following presentation of the international legal framework on family reunification and the relevant international jurisprudence, I deal with some rather common aspects relating to the personal scope of family reunification regulations, covering only the issues of who can, and who cannot, join their family member(s)/sponsor(s) in a foreign country (i.e. the unmarried minor rule, excluded forms of marriages – polygamous and forced marriages - and age limits). Some procedural aspects of family reunification are then dealt with (waiting periods, delays in proceedings, and end of a relationship as a cause for termination of residence rights.). These issues are examined with respect to concerns that they may cause indirect, or even direct, gender discrimination in some cases, while in others they may affect women more negatively than men.
In its Judgment of 17 February 2016, the Polish Supreme Court adjudicated the case of Polish soldiers accused of crimes committed in the village of Nangar Khel in Afghanistan in 2007. Ultimately, the Supreme Court found that Polish soldiers were guilty of, inter alia, breach of Article 318 of the Polish Penal Code, which stipulates that a soldier commits a crime even when executing an order if he is aware of this crime. However, the part of the judgment devoted to the problem of unlawful orders is very limited and almost completely lacks references to international law. The Supreme Court could have referred to a number of international legal acts, starting from the beginning of 20th century and up to the more recent regulations, including those in the Rome Statute. Moreover, the Supreme Court did not use international case law. As a result, the argumentation of the Supreme Court should be assessed as limited and unconvincing.
This article is in tended to provide a legally sound explanation of why and how the contemporary International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law legal frameworks offer tools to address the uncertain ty, lack of in formation, and the consequences thereof in relation to missin g persons and victims of enforced disappearances in the context of armed conflicts which predated the adoption of such frameworks. To this end, three scenarios will be examin ed: the contemporary claims of the families of those who were killed in the Katyń massacre in 1940; the claims for in formation and justice of the families of thousands who were subjected to enforced disappearances durin g the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939; and the identification efforts concernin g those reported missin g while in volved in military operations in the context of the 1944 Kaprolat/Hasselmann in cident which took place durin g the Second World War. The analysis of these scenarios is conducive to the development of more general reflections that would feed in to the debate over the legal relevance of the distant past in light of today’s in ternational legal framework.
In light of contemporary circumstances, on the 30th anniversary of the Nicaragua judgment it is worth revisiting and considering again certain legal problems decided by – and raised by – the ICJ judgment. This article addresses the importance of the judgment in terms of international legal regulations on the use of force. First and foremost, the article examines the concept of armed attack based on the “gravity” criterion elaborated by the Court and the exercise of the right of self-defence. Moreover, the relationship between customary international law and treaty law, as well as forcible counter-measures and military actions against non-State actors are also discussed in the article. It is argued that the “gravity” criterion used by the ICJ seems controversial and, consequently, may limit the right of self-defence. On the other hand, however, the judgment established a strong barrier to the realization of individual political interests by militarily powerful States. This is the Nicaragua judgment’s long-lasting legacy. In this sense the judgment has stood the test of time.
The main topic of this article is retroactive application of procedural criminal law. In this text the question will be posed – and answered – whether the application of a new procedural provision that entered into force in the course of an ongoing proceeding should in that proceeding be considered as retroactive and in what scope or/and under what conditions can such retroactivity be allowed for. As will be shown the solutions in national jurisdictions differ according to the common law – continental law states divide. This problem will be discussed in the light of a decision in the ICC Ruto and Sang case. In this case the ICC Appeals Chamber had to answer several questions pertaining to the temporal application of new procedural provisions. Firstly, the Chamber had to decide whether a general ban on the retroactive application of substantive law should also apply to procedural criminal law. Secondly, the ICC Appeals Chamber had to analyze the criteria according to which it would evaluate whether the change of rules of criminal procedure in the course of an ongoing trial was to be considered as having a retroactive effect, and whether the change in the rules of admission of evidence could be considered detrimental to the accused. Thirdly, it will be shown that the ICC Appeals Chamber has chosen the common law concept of “due process rights” rather than the idea of “intertemporal rules” known from the continental doctrine, and why it chose to do so.