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Article 38(1) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice tells the court to decide cases before it by applying
"(a) international conventions, whether general or particular, establishing rules expressly recognised by the contesting States;
(b) international custom ....
(c) the general principles of law recognised by civilised nations
(d).... judicial decisions and the teachings of the most highly qualified ... as subsidiary means for the determination of the rules of law."