Document Type: Original Article
Instructor, PhD in International Law from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland
This article aims to evaluate the underlying foundation of the reasoning of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on evolutionary interpretation of treaties. The paper questions the common narrative on the evolutionary interpretation based on the generic nature of terms and the presumed intention. It argues that the decision about genericity of terms cannot be decided on the basis of the textual interpretation of the terms of a treaty. Nor, the intention of the parties or the presumed intention can provide the proper ground for making such a decision, as the intention of a writer is always constructed by the reader. Based on the idea that interpretation of law is an act within the legal sphere that follows the rationality of that legal system, the paper argues that what determines the content of a norm to evolve in time is its legal nature considered together with the purpose it aims to serve within the ambit of a legal system.