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International Law

International Law (5th edn)

Malcolm Evans
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date: 13 June 2024

p. 41514. The Character and Forms of International Responsibilitylocked

p. 41514. The Character and Forms of International Responsibilitylocked

  • James Crawford
  •  and Simon Olleson


This chapter begins with an overview of the different forms of responsibility/liability in international law, and then focuses on the general character of State responsibility. The law of State responsibility deals with three general questions: (1) has there been a breach by a State of an international obligation; (2) what are the consequences of the breach in terms of cessation and reparation; and (3) who may seek reparation or otherwise respond to the breach as such, and in what ways? As to the first question, the chapter discusses the constituent elements of attribution and breach, as well as the possible justifications or excuses that may preclude responsibility. The second question concerns the various secondary obligations that arise upon the commission of an internationally wrongful act by a State, and in particular the forms of reparation. The third question concerns issues of invocation of responsibility, including the taking of countermeasures.

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