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Does ASEAN Exist? The Association of Southeast Asian Nations as an International Legal Person

Singapore Year Book of International Law, Vol. 12, pp. 199-211, 2008

NYU Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 08-26

15 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2008 Last revised: 1 May 2014

Simon Chesterman

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Faculty of Law

Date Written: December 15, 2008

Abstract

The ASEAN Charter, which entered into force on 15 December 2008, asserts in Article 3 that ASEAN "as an inter-governmental organisation, is hereby conferred legal personality". This essay examines the legal status of the Association, as well as the political question of whether the whole is greater than (or perhaps less than) the sum of its parts. The argument presented is that legal personality at the international level is less a status than it is a capacity: the fact that ASEAN now claims international legal personality in the Charter does not mean it lacked it previously, nor that it now possesses it in any meaningful way. Rather, the key question is what specific powers have been granted to ASEAN and how those powers are used. On these questions, the Charter is largely silent.

Keywords: ASEAN, international legal personality, regional organizations

Suggested Citation

Chesterman, Simon, Does ASEAN Exist? The Association of Southeast Asian Nations as an International Legal Person (December 15, 2008). Singapore Year Book of International Law, Vol. 12, pp. 199-211, 2008; NYU Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 08-26. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1113612

Simon Chesterman (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Faculty of Law ( email )

469G Bukit Timah Road
Eu Tong Sen Building
Singapore, 259776
Singapore

HOME PAGE: www.SimonChesterman.com

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