Article 31(3)(c) of the VCLT and the principle of systemic integration
The proliferation of international courts and tribunals combined with the expansion of the areas and density of regulation of international law has given rise to a debate on the issue of fragmentation of international law. Within this context and as a possible response to this fear of fragmentation, the issue of interpretation with specific reference to Article 31(3)(c) of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties has come to the forefront. The overarching aim of the present thesis entitled ‘Article 31(3)(c) of the VCLT and the Principle of Systemic Integration’ is to provide a comprehensive analysis of the content and the function of Article 31(3)(c) both as a conventional and as a customary rule (i.e. as principle of systemic integration). To this end, the thesis adopts a two-pronged approach. In the first Part of this thesis the analysis is based on the text of the provision itself, both on its written and unwritten elements (intertemporal law considerations). This analysis demonstrates that a proper understanding of Article 31(3)(c) leads us to the adoption of the proximity criterion as the only appropriate in the application of Article 31(3)(c). Having concluded the textual analysis, the thesis then, in the second Part, considers Article 31(3)(c) from a different vantage point. It examines Article 31(3)(c) from the more general perspective of the system as a whole and analyses what the effects of more systemic considerations to the content of Article 31(3)(c) are. Within these parameters two issues arise: i) The principles of conflict resolution, which the thesis proves can be applied, in certain scenarios, in the interpretative process of Article 31(3)(c) and ii) more importantly the notion of interpretation of customary law. The relevant Chapter establishes that customary international law can be the object of interpretation and in such an interpretation Article 31(3)(c), as custom, plays a pivotal role. Through this approach, both from a textual and a systemic perspective, the thesis offers a new and complete understanding of Article 31(3)(c) in all its manifestations and spheres of application.
- Theses