International Law Commission International Law Commission

Last update: September 24, 2018

Analytical Guide to the Work of the International Law Commission

Peremptory norms of general international law (Jus cogens)*

* At its sixty-ninth session, in 2017, the Commission decided to change the title of the topic from “jus cogens” to “peremptory norms of general international law (jus cogens).

See also: Summary | Texts and Instruments

Mandate

Studies undertaken by the Secretariat and Reports of the Secretary-General

None

Reports of the Working Group or Sub-Committee

None

Reports of the Special Rapporteur

  • Overview of debate in the Sixth Committee on the topic, discussion of the methodological approach, the historical evolution of the concept of jus cogens, the legal nature of jus cogens, the form of the Commission’s product, proposals for draft conclusions 1 to 3, and future work.
    • First report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Dire Tladi (68th session of the ILC (2016))
  • Consideration of criteria for jus cogens: a norm of general international law, and recognition an acceptance. Proposals for draft conclusions 4 (Criteria for jus cogens), 5 (Jus cogens norms as norms of general international law), 6 (Acceptance and recognition as a criterion for the identification of jus cogens), 7 (International community of States as a whole), 8 (Acceptance and recognition), and 9 (Evidence of acceptance and recognition).
    • Second report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Dire Tladi (69th session of the ILC (2017))
  • Consideration of the consequences of peremptory norms of general international law (jus cogens). Proposals for draft conclusions 10 (invalidity of a treaty in conflict with a peremptory norm of general international law (jus cogens)); 11 (severability of treaty provisions in conflict with peremptory norm of general international law (jus cogens)); 12 (elimination of consequences of acts performed in reliance of invalid treaty); 13 (effects of peremptory norms of general international law (jus cogens) on reservations to treaties); 14 (Recommended procedure regarding settlement of disputes involving conflict between a treaty and a peremptory norm of general international law (jus cogens)); 15 (Consequences of peremptory norms of general international law (jus cogens) for customary international law); 16 (Consequences of peremptory norms of general international law (jus cogens) on unilateral acts); 17 (Consequences of peremptory norms of general international law (jus cogens) for binding resolutions of international organizations); 18 (the relationship between peremptory norms of general international law (jus cogens) and obligations erga omnes); 19 (effects of peremptory norms of general international law (jus cogens) on circumstances precluding wrongfulness); 20 (duty to cooperate); 21 (duty not to recognize or render assistance); 22 (duty to exercise domestic jurisdiction over crimes prohibited by peremptory norms of general international law (jus cogens)); and 23 (irrelevance of official position and non-applicability of immunity ratione materiae).
    • Third report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Dire Tladi (70th session of the ILC (2018))

Reports of the Drafting Committee

 
 
 

Comments by Governments

 

Other

None

Reports of the International Law Commission

  • Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixty-eighth session, 2 May–10 June and 4 July–12 August 2016
    • The Commission had before it the first report of the Special Rapporteur (A/CN.4/693).
    • The Commission considered the first report at its 3314th to 3317th, and 3322nd and 3323rd meetings, from 4 to 8, and 18 and 19 July 2016.
    • At its 3323rd meeting, on 19 July 2016, the Commission referred draft conclusions 1 and 3, as contained in the Special Rapporteur’s first report, to the Drafting Committee.
    • At its 3342nd meeting, on 9 August 2016, the Chairperson of the Drafting Committee presented an interim report of the Drafting Committee on “Jus cogens”, containing the draft conclusions it provisionally adopted at the sixty-eighth session.
    • Discussion in Plenary: 3314th, 3315th, 3316th, 3317th (4 to 8 July), 3322nd, 3323rd (18 and 19 July) and 3342nd (9 August 2016) meetings.
  • ILC Report, A/71/10, 2016, chap. IX, paras. 97–138
  • See the website of the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly and the topical summary of debate in the Sixth Committee (A/CN.4/703)
  • Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixty-ninth session, 1 May–2 June and 3 July–4 August 2017
    • The Commission had before it the second report of the Special Rapporteur (A/CN.4/706).
    • The Commission considered the second report at its 3368th to 3370th, and 3372nd to 3374th meetings, from 3 to 5, and 11 to 13 July 2017.
    • At its 3374th meeting, on 13 July 2017, the Commission referred draft conclusions 4 to 9, as contained in the Special Rapporteur’s second report, to the Drafting Committee. At the same meeting, the Commission decided to change the title of the topic from “Jus cogens” to “Peremptory norms of general international law (jus cogens)”.
    • At its 3382nd meeting, on 26 July 2017, the Chairperson of the Drafting Committee presented an interim report of the Drafting Committee on “Peremptory norms of general international law (jus cogens)”, containing the draft conclusions that it had provisionally adopted at the sixty-ninth session. The report was presented for information only.
    • Discussion in Plenary: 3368th, 3369th, 3370th, 3372nd, 3373rd, 3374th (3 to 13 July 2017), and 3382nd (26 July 2017) meetings.
  • ILC Report, A/72/10, 2017, chap. VIII, paras. 142–210
  • See the website of the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly and the topical summary of debate in the Sixth Committee (A/CN.4/713)
  • Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its seventieth session, 30 April–1 June and 2 July–10 August 2018
    • The Commission had before it the third report of the Special Rapporteur (A/CN.4/714 and Corr.1).
    • The Commission considered the third report at its 3414th to 3421st, and 3425th meetings, on 30 May and 1 June 2018, and from 2 to 4 and on 9 July 2018.
    • At its 3425th meeting, on 9 July 2018, the Commission referred draft conclusions 10 to 23, as contained in the Special Rapporteur’s third report, to the Drafting Committee on the understanding that draft conclusions 22 and 23 would be dealt with by means of a “without prejudice” clause.
    • At its 3402nd meeting, on 14 May 2018, the Chair of the Drafting Committee presented an interim report of the Drafting Committee on “Peremptory norms of general international law (jus cogens)”, concerning draft conclusions 8 and 9 that it had provisionally adopted at the seventieth session. At the 3434th meeting, on 20 July 2018, the Chair of the Drafting Committee presented a further interim report of the Drafting Committee, concerning draft conclusions 10 to 14 that it had provisionally adopted at the seventieth session. Both reports were presented for information only.
  • Discussion in Plenary: 3402nd, 3414th, 3415th, 3416th, 3417th, 3418th, 3419th, 3420th, 3421st, 3425th (14 and 30 May, 1 June and 2 to 4 and 9 July 2018), and 3434th (20 July 2018) meetings.
  • ILC Report, A/73/10, 2018, chap. VIII, paras. 91–163

General Assembly Action

  • Resolution 70/236 of 23 December 2015
    • Took note of the decision of the International Law Commission to include the topic in its programme of work.
  • See the website of the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly and the topical summary of debate in the Sixth Committee (A/CN.4/689)

Final Outcome

Work in progress