B.S. Chimni's thought-provoking article presents a welcome opportunity to reflect on both the value and the shortcomings of custom as a source in contemporary international law. Chimni convincingly identifies points of concern with respect to the representativeness of the relevant state practice and the availability of non-Western practice. His article is part of a stream of recent scholarship that examines the relationship between public international law and the so-called Third World under the label of Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL). The contribution, like much of the TWAIL literature, is helpful in that it reveals the biases of international law in favor of the former colonial powers and identifies the ways in which these inform the identification and interpretation of (customary) international law. Yet we do not agree with some of the premises of Chimni's critique or his suggested remedies. In particular, we would like to offer a different perspective on the importance of power, the distinction between formal and material sources, and the legitimacy of his concept of postmodern custom.
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