The “International Community’S Interests” Element of the State of Necessity Test: Does It Make the Jus Cogens Limitation on Necessity Superfluous?

  •  Dmitry V. Krasikov    
  •  Nadezhda N. Lipkina    


According to Article 25 par. 1 (b) and Article 26 of the 2001 International Law Commission Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts, the concept of general international law peremptory norms and that of interests of “the international community as a whole” play an important role in shaping the state of necessity as one of the circumstances that preclude wrongfulness of States’ conduct under general international law. The limitation on the necessity defense, placed by the international community’s interest condition contained in Article 25 par. 1 (b) of the ILC Articles, serves as a safeguard for the interests protected by the erga omnes international obligations. The concepts of erga omnes and of general international law peremptory norms differ significantly and while all the norms of the latter type give rise to obligations erga omnes, not every such obligation arises out of peremptory norms. This evidences of an autonomous role of the relevant provision of Article 25 par. 1 (b) but not of the jus cogens limitation under Article 26 in the context of the necessity defense. The present article argues that the jus cogens limitation under Article 26 plays a role largely independent from that of Article 25 par. 1 (b) since it is incorrect to see the latter as an absolute guarantee of obligations erga omnes. The present article is a part of a larger project “Circumstances precluding wrongfulness of conduct: the analysis of functional role and applicability parameters in the framework of International Human Rights Law” supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR Grant No. 18-011-00660).

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