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 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 discusses definitions of crimes included into the Act of 18 December 1998 on the Institute of National Remembrance – Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation, and their usefulness in prosecuting individuals who committed international crimes. It is argued that the provisions of the Act cannot constitute a ground for criminal responsibility of individuals, as they violate the principle of nullum crimen sine lege certa.
This article analyses the amendments of January 2018 to the Act on the Institute of National Remembrance (INR) of 1998, which has raised doubts in light of in ternational law and provoked diplomatic tensions between Poland on one side and Germany, Ukraine, United States of America and Israel on the other. The INR is a national in stitution whose role is, among others, to prosecute perpetrators of in ternational crimes committed between 1917-1990. The article proves that the wording of the amendments is in consistent with in ternational law, as it ignores the principles of in ternational responsibility, definitions of in ternational crimes, and disproportionately limits freedom of expression. In consequence, it cannot be expected that third states will cooperate with Poland in the execution of responsibility for violation of the newly adopted norms.