International Law’s Specialised Regime and Normative Conflict: A Reflection on International Criminal Law
Keywords:international law, international criminal law, treaty law, customary law, specialised legal regimes, normative conflict
In the international legal system, there exist fields of law that are characteristically specialised than the general sphere of international law. The term ‘special’, ‘specialised’ or ‘self-contained’ regime will be revisited in the present article vis-à-vis possible norms that conflict in the international legal arena. International criminal law, a discrete branch of international law will be thoroughly discussed as to reveal its nature as one of international law’s special regimes that may arguably contribute to the issue of normative conflict, and further, a problem of legal fragmentation. The concept of legal fragmentation will thus be highlighted as linked to international law’s normative conflicts. Considering that international criminal law is potentially a special regime of international law, one of its codified rules seems to have led to an emerged normative conflict involving the legal interaction between the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court 1998’s treaty-based rule, and the international customary law rule. The severity of a legal conflict not only impacts the treaty law and customary law areas of international law but to a greater extent also undermines the coherence of the international legal system as a whole. Therefore, this article aims to analyse and expound on the apparent normative conflict of international law character that needs to be addressed, especially by the International Criminal Court being one of the prominent international judicial organs. Supposedly, when a normative conflict becomes severe, the issue of fragmentation of international law looms out and effective determination of related conflicting norms is indeed appealing.
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