Elements of International Law

Cover of book Elements of International Law
Categories: Nonfiction

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that they may be valid by the external law; States being often obliged to acquiesce in such deviations from the former law in cases where they do not affect their perfect rights. () From this distinction of Vattel, flows what Wolf had denominated the voluntary law of nations, (jug gentium voluntarium,') to which term his disciple assents, although he differs from Wolf as to the manner of establishing its obligation. He however agrees with Wolf in considering the voluntary law of nations as a positive law, derived from the presumed or tacit consent of nations to consider each other as perfectly free, independent, and equal, each being the judge of its own actions, and responsible to no superior but the Supreme Ruler of the universe. Besides this voluntary law of nations, these writers enumerate two other species of international law. These are: 1. The conventional law of nations, resulting from compacts between particular States. As a treaty binds only the contracting parties, it is evident that the conventional law of nations is not a universal, but a particular law. 2. The customary law of nations, resulting from usage between particular nations. This law is not universal, but binding upon those States only which have given their tacit consent to it. Vattel concludes that these three species of international law, the voluntary, the conventional, and the customary, compose together the positive law of nations. They proceed from the will of nations; or (in the words of Wolf) " the voluntary, from their presumed consent; the conventional, from their express consent; and the customary, from their tacit consent." (d) It is almost superfluous to point out the confusion in this enumeration of the different species of international law, which might easi...

Elements of International Law
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