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Title: Obligations erga omnes as multilateral obligations in international law
Author: Féliz De Jesús, Ernesto José
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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So-called obligations erga omnes, owed to the international community as a whole, including all States, now form part of positive international law. These obligations protect some of the most basic values of present-day international relations. Examples include the obligations not to commit genocide or torture, to uphold the most basic human rights, to respect the self-determination of peoples, and so on. However, there is little agreement as to what these obligations imply, how they have come about, and how to identify them. In the literature, at least, there is widespread agreement that obligations erga omnes are different in essence and in nature from obligations owed by one State to another State, so-called obligations inter partes. In turn, this —alleged— radical conceptual break severs obligations erga omnes from a wealth of norms that exist in present-day, general international law, but whose origins lie farther back in time. This thesis attempts to reconcile obligations erga omnes with obligations arising in classic, general international law. It explores what it means to be owed an obligation and how it came to pass that most obligations were owed inter partes. The particular way in which sovereignty came to be conceived and the furtherance of sovereignty, at the expense of other values, forms the pattern that gave rise to obligations inter partes. But even at that time, exceptions to this pattern existed which brought about obligations analogous to those owed erga omnes today. Relevant state practice will be analysed. If obligations erga omnes could have been created in classic international law, it is unjustified to maintain that obligations erga omnes represent so radical a break with the past. Obligations erga omnes are aggregates of bilateral, primary obligations. From this perspective, it is possible to identify these obligations, their consequences, and to discern their origins.
Supervisor: Lowe, A. Vaughan Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Public International Law ; State Responsibility ; Obligations Erga Omnes ; Obligations Erga Omnes Partes ; Jus Cogens ; Peremptory Norms ; Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld ; Sovereignty ; Bilateralism ; Multilateralism