CYIL vol. 11 (2020)

CYIL 11 (2020) THE NEW TREND OF INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW … reflects on specific needs of normalization and management, precisely on account of object diversification, or international activity itself. Turning back to our example, the general practitioner holds a primary function. Their position and importance are in no way forgotten by an ill patient. After all, the family doctor can relate many of the structural elements of medicine and if, by any chance, no diagnosis is provided by specialists, this practitioner is skilled to examine and guide the patient according to the purest scientific precepts. Fragmentation can be seen accordingly: there are punctual specializations, which instruct and facilitate the purpose of international activity, despite being completely disconnected from international law’s settled corpus juris . Or, as Pulkowski and Simma appropriately note: On the one hand, new special regimes of international law have evolved as a response to inefficiencies or the perceived lack of flexibility of the general system. On the other hand, the very same regimes that have thus emancipated themselves from general international law remain dependent on this body of rules in several ways, including, as a measure of last resort, the enforcement of primary obligations. In other words, international legal order fragmentation requires a simultaneous affirmation of its The fifty-fourth session of the United Nations International Law Commission (ILC, 2002) established a study group to conduct a thorough assessment of the issue. The ILC Report entitled Fragmentation of International Law: difficulties arising from the diversification and expansion of international law , 11 presented at the fifty-eighth session, 12 may be referred to as a milestone for the evaluation of the substantive effects of fragmentation and the autonomy of each fragmented area in relation to the others – but not entirely dissociated from general international law itself. Among the main topics considered in the report, the most interesting one, as far as this essay is concerned, is “the function and scope of the lex specialis rule and the question of self- contained regimes.” 13 The expression lex specialis derogat legi generali is customary international law and serves as a conflict resolution technique. A supervenient norm with object identification to a previous one which addresses, however, an issue more specifically, derogates the general treatise precisely because, as Vattel puts it ‘[…] special matter admits of fewer exceptions than that which is general; it is enjoined with greater precision, and appears to have been more pointedly intended.’ 14 central systemic building blocks, including general international law. 10 One must be wary that there is no unanimity on the subject, though. 10 PULKOWSKI, Dirk and SIMMA, Bruno, ‘Of Planets and the Universe: Self-contained Regimes in International Law’ (2006) 17/3 European Journal of International Law 483, 529. 11 International Law Commission, ‘Fragmentation of international law: difficulties arising from the expansion and diversification of international law’, 18 July 2006, accessed 25 January 2019. 12 International Law Commission, fifty-eighth session, held in Geneva from 1 May to 9 June and from 3 July to 11 August 2006. 13 International Law Commission (n 11) 1. 14 DE VATTEL, Emmerich, The Law of Nations or Principles of the Law of Nature Applied to the Conduct and Affairs of Nations and Sovereigns (1883), vol. II, chapter XVII, para. 316, accessed 25 January 2019.


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