The Emptiness of the Concept of Jus Cogens, as Illustrated by the War in Bosnia-Herzegovina

The aim of this article is neither to condemn departures from jus cogens nor to engage in verbal gymnastics designed to obfuscate the fact that the international community is treating or will treat “peremptory norms” as moralisms irrelevant in practical terms. Rather, this article seeks to show that the problem lies in the concept of jus cogens itself. More specifically, the article intends to make the case that the concept is intellectually indefensible – at best useless and at worst harmful in the practical conduct of international relations.