Costumary international law in a global community : tailor made?

  • Francisco Orrego Vicuña Profesor, Instituto de Estudios Internacionales, Universidad de Chile


The growing trend to consider as customary law rules devised to support preferences and arguments, that cannot otherwise qualify as law, is leading to serious doubts about the real meaning of international law. This article examines the reasons behind this phenomenon and reflects on means for strengthening the traditional requirements of customary international law so as to ensure that proper law is made. It notes that customary international law cannot depend on the advancement of instrumental goals some times in contradiction with the requirements of a stable legal system. The articles examines in particular the meaning of States' practice and opinio juris, the traditional elements for the formation of customary rules. It argues in conclusion that the efforts at reengineering customary law have actually revived its role to an unexpected extent, to the point that the reaction against its manipulation is gradually bringing back international law to its normal balance.

Biografía del autor

Filiación del autor

Abogado; profesor titular de la Universidad de Chile; doctor en derecho internacional, The London School of Economics and Political Science, Universidad de Londres; profesor visitante de diversas universidades extranjeras; presidente del Tribunal Administrativo del Banco Mundial. Premio Nacional de Humanidades y Ciencias Sociales 2002; miembro del Institut de Droit International.

Cómo citar
Orrego Vicuña, F. (2005). Costumary international law in a global community : tailor made?. Estudios Internacionales, 38(148), p. 21-38. doi:10.5354/0719-3769.2011.14418