State Succession with Respect to Multilateral Treaties in the Context of Secession: From the Principle of Tabula Rasa to the Emergence of a Presumption of Continuity of Treaties
13 Baltic Yearbook of International Law, (2013) pp. 27-65
41 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2014
Date Written: 2013
This article examines the issue of State succession to multilateral treaties in the specific context of secession. We begin our analysis by defining the term “secession” in order to distinguish it from other cases of dismemberment of States. The issue of succession to treaties in the event of secession will only be analysed after having succinctly examined the recent practice of States in the context of dissolution of States. The second part of this paper examines the practice of secessionist States prior to the adoption of the 1978 Vienna Convention on Succession of States in respect of Treaties. The paper will investigate Pakistan, Singapore and Bangladesh as States that exemplify this practice. The practice adopted by these secessionist States has generally followed the principle of tabula rasa. The third part examines the regime established under the 1978 Vienna Convention in the specific case of secession. In this chapter, we will present a history of the work of the International Law Commission (ILC), including its numerous internal conflicts that have resulted in the adoption of the principle of continuity of treaties, which was in fact contrary to the practice of secessionist States at the time. Lastly, we will analyse State practice with regard to succession to treaties in the recent case of the secession of Montenegro (2006). Given the fact that there is very limited contemporary practice with regards to secession, we will also analyse the position adopted by two eventual candidates for independence, that of Québec and Scotland.
Keywords: State succession, treaty, secession, Quebec, Vienna Convention, continuity
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation