Raphaël van Steenberghe
This chapter analyses the specific features which characterize the sources of international humanitarian law (IHL) and international criminal law (ICL). It first examines those which are claimed to characterize IHL and ICL sources in relation to the secondary norms regulating the classical sources of international law. The chapter then looks at the specific features of some IHL and ICL sources in relation to the others of the same field. Attention is given particularly to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the impact of its features on other ICL sources, as well as to the commitments made by armed groups, whose characteristics make them difficult to classify under any of the classical sources of international law. In general, this chapter shows how all those specific features derive from the specific fundamental principles and evolving concerns of these two fields of international law.
Sources of International Humanitarian Law and International Criminal Law: War/Crimes and the Limits of the Doctrine of Sources
Steven R. Ratner
This chapter contends that international humanitarian law (IHL) and criminal law (ICL) cast serious doubt on the traditional doctrine and understanding of sources. Article 38 of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Statute inadequately describes key modes for prescribing law in these areas. International courts are particularly important for both areas, perhaps because of their unprincipled approach to the indicia of custom. More fundamentally, IHL and ICL suggest that sources scholarship should see itself not as determining necessary and sufficient methods for the making of law, but rather as a search for relevant inputs that become indicators of law. Under this view, certain processes are more authoritative than others, but all deserve scrutiny. Moreover, a theory of sources must take account of the purpose of understanding sources, which is to promote compliance with rules. IHL and ICL also shed light on the importance of morality and ethics to the law-making process.