State Succession to Bilateral Treaties: A Few Observations on the Incoherent and Unjustifiable Solution Adopted For Secession and Dissolution of States Under the 1978 Vienna Convention
P Dumberry, "State Succession to Bilateral Treaties: A Few Observations on the Incoherent and Unjustifiable Solution Adopted for Secession and Dissolution of States under the 1978 Vienna Convention", 28 Leiden Journal of International Law, (2014), p. 13-31.
18 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2018 Last revised: 13 Aug 2018
Date Written: 2014
This article examines the question of state succession to bilateral treaties. It analyses the work of the International Law Commission undertaken in the 1970s and criticizes the solutions it has adopted in the 1978 Vienna Convention on Succession of States in Respect of Treaties for different types of state succession. I will argue that it is incoherent for the ILC to apply, on the one hand, the solution of automatic continuity for bilateral treaties in the context of secession and dissolution of states, while adopting, on the other hand, the solution of tabula rasa for Newly Independent States. In any event, it is plainly unjustifiable to apply the principle of automatic continuity to bilateral treaties. Thus, while the tabula rasa principle was adopted by the ILC for multilateral treaties to protect Newly Independent States’ right to self-determination, the same solution was chosen for bilateral treaties for different reasons. The rule of tabula rasa was adopted because of the particular nature of bilateral treaties and the basic requirement that the other party to an original treaty must consent to the continuation of that treaty with a Newly Independent State. There are simply no logical reasons as to why the tabula rasa principle adopted for Newly Independent States should not also find application for all new states. Bilateral treaties do not automatically continue to be in force as of the date of succession unless both states that are implicated explicitly (or tacitly) agree to such a continuation.
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