Jus Cogens

Topics: Law, International law, Peremptory norm Pages: 7 (2050 words) Published: June 16, 2013
Citation: 40 N.Y.U. J. Int'l L. & Pol. 1121 2007-2008 Content downloaded/printed from HeinOnline (http://heinonline.org) Sat Jun 15 01:32:03 2013 -- Your use of this HeinOnline PDF indicates your acceptance of HeinOnline's Terms and Conditions of the license agreement available at http://heinonline.org/HOL/License -- The search text of this PDF is generated from uncorrected OCR text. -- To obtain permission to use this article beyond the scope of your HeinOnline license, please use: https://www.copyright.com/ccc/basicSearch.do? &operation=go&searchType=0 &lastSearch=simple&all=on&titleOrStdNo=0028-7873

2008]

BOOK ANNOTATIONS

be exhibiting a distaste for politics, but this distaste does not equal a desire to leave politics behind. A loosely defined Europe with ever-expanding boundaries still requires political processes and decisions. The nation is not a prerequisite for democratic politics, but it is the easiest and best-known forum in which democratic politics can take place. This observation should not detract from Manent's overall work. He states at the outset that his intent is to describe the Western political order, and in that task he succeeds. Ultimately, if Manent is guilty of anything, it is of adopting a title that is overly ambitious. His "defense of the nationstate" is never an explicit, full-throated defense; rather, Manent allows it to permeate his arguments, and he relies on the presumption that nation-states are required for democratic politics to take place. By ably describing the modern democratic political world, A World Beyond Politics? is an effective defense, not of the nation-state, but of democratic politics itself. Peremptory Norms and International Law. Alexander Orakhe-

lashvili. New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. 672. $99.96 (hardcover). REVIEWED BY ZACHARY GOLDMAN

Alexander Orakhelashvili has written a masterful and thoroughly rich study of peremptory norms (jus cogens) in international law, differentiating his work from the rest of the field by focusing primarily on the effects that peremptory norms have on various spheres of national and international legal action. Throughout the text, he emphasizes the "hierarchical superiority" and "normative superiority" of jus cogens norms and justifies his focus on their effects by stressing that their superiority "becomes most crucially relevant after a specific peremptory norm is breached." The book is written for the specialist in international law-one who is already familiar with the sources of international law, with the operation of the international legal system, and also with the seminal international legal cases. Orakhelashvili refers to these cases throughout the book without explaining their factual matrices in any great detail. The result is a focused and in-depth treatment of a very important topic; however, Orakhelashvili's highly princi-

Imaged with the Permission of N.Y.U. Journal of International Law and Politics HeinOnline -- 40 N.Y.U. J. Int'l L. & Pol. 1121 2007-2008

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pled stance on the issue of normative hierarchy-the cornerstone of his analysis-may come at the price of the unwillingness of some to embrace his sometimes categorical positions. Though his focus is on the effects of peremptory norms, instead of the perhaps more common focus on their sources, Orakhelashvili begins the book by defining what makes a norm peremptory. He begins by introducing the concept of public policy, familiar to all legal systems, and analogizes peremptory norms to international public policy, describing them as norms that safeguard "certain higher interests" and the "substantive values and principles" that are fundamentally important to the international community. That peremptory norms embody the interests of the international community as a whole and thus cannot be reduced to "bilateral" obligations constitutes the most important element of his...
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