Nordic Journal of International Law 67: 357–364, 1998. © 1998 Kluwer Law International. Printed in the Netherlands. 357 Executing Mr Breard JAN KLABBERS Member of the Editorial Board 1. It may well be true that, as Louis Henkin once observed, almost all nations observe almost all principles of international law and almost all of their oblig- ations almost all of the time. 1 Yet, it is also clear that international law is, on occasion, honoured in the breach. Almost all nations, one might be tempted to say, violate some principles of international law and some of their obligations some of the time. Usually, we as professional international lawyers take those violations in our stride. Of course, we may get upset or angry when one state invades another; we may be disgusted upon reading reports of ethnic cleansing; we feel sympathy for the victims of torture, and we shake our heads when trade agreements are breached. But rarely do we feel defeated by such events. In- stead, we take some perverse pride in them: it is the very fact that international law is occasionally breached which provides the best evidence that it exists, as Brierly once famously suggested. 2
Nordic Journal of International Law – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1998
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