Articles on the Effects of Armed Conflicts on Treaties
New York, 9 December 2011
  • Introductory Note
  • Procedural History
  • Documents
F o r t h c o m i n g
Introductory note to be published

In resolution 66/99 of 9 December 2011, the General Assembly took note of the Articles on the Effects of Armed Conflicts on Treaties, the text of which was annexed to the resolution, and commended them to the attention of Governments without prejudice to the question of their future adoption or other appropriate action.

At its fifty-second session, in 2000, the International Law Commission, on the basis of the recommendation of its Working Group on the long-term programme of work, identified the topic “Effects of armed conflicts on treaties” for inclusion, and during the Commission’s fifty-sixth session, in 2004, the topic was included in its programme of work. At its sixty-third session, in 2011, the International Law Commission adopted, on second reading, the draft articles on the effects of armed conflicts on treaties and an annex, together with commentaries thereto.

The draft articles were divided into three parts, as follows: Part I entitled “Scope and definitions” (articles 1 and 2); Part II entitled “Principles” (articles 3 to 13); and Part III entitled “Miscellaneous” (articles 14 to 18). The Annex contains a list of treaties the subject matter of which involves an implication that they continue in operation, in whole or in part, during armed conflict.


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At its fifty-second session, in 2000, the Commission, on the basis of the recommendation of the Working Group on the long-term programme of work, identified the topic “Effects of armed conflicts on treaties” for inclusion in its long-term programme of work (A/55/10, paras. 726-729). A brief syllabus describing the possible overall structure of, and approach to, the topic was annexed to that year’s report of the Commission (A/55/10, annex (2)). The syllabus noted that the topic had been set aside by the Commission in its work on the law of treaties and formed part of the saving clause in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (article 73). The syllabus further recognized that the subject was ideal for codification and/or progressive development as, on the one hand, there was considerable practice and experience and, on the other hand, there were elements of uncertainty. It further noted that the topic received a wide range of support in the Working Group on the long-term programme of work and that it was generally recognized that there was a continuing need for clarification of the law in the area.

The General Assembly, in resolution 55/152 of 12 December 2000, took note of the Commission’s report concerning its long-term programme of work and, in resolution 56/82 of 12 December 2001, the Assembly requested the Commission to further consider the topic, having due regard to comments made by Governments.

At its fifty-sixth session, in 2004, the Commission decided to include the topic “Effects of armed conflicts on treaties” in its programme of work and to appoint Mr. Ian Brownlie as Special Rapporteur for the topic (A/59/10, para. 364). The General Assembly, in resolution 59/41 of 2 December 2004, endorsed the Commission’s decision to include the topic in its programme of work.

At its fifty-seventh and fifty-eighth sessions, in 2005 and 2006, respectively, the Commission received and considered the first two reports of the Special Rapporteur (A/CN.4/552 and A/CN.4/570 and Corr.1), as well as a memorandum prepared by the Secretariat (A/CN.4/550 and Corr.1). At its fifty-seventh session, in 2005, the Commission endorsed the Special Rapporteur’s suggestion that the Secretariat circulate a note to Governments requesting information about their practice with regard to the topic, in particular the more contemporary practice (A/60/10, paras. 108–191).

The first reading of the draft articles continued at the fifty-ninth and sixtieth sessions, in 2007 and 2008, respectively, on the basis of the third (A/CN.4/578 and Corr.1) and fourth (A/CN.4/589) reports of the Special Rapporteur. At its fifty-ninth session, in 2007, the Commission decided to establish a Working Group under the Chairmanship of Mr. Lucius Caflisch (A/62/10, para. 16).

The General Assembly, in resolution 62/66 of 6 December 2007, reiterated its invitation to Governments to provide information to the Commission regarding State practice, in particular more contemporary practice, on the topic.

At its sixtieth session, in 2008, the Commission adopted, on first reading, a set of 18 draft articles on the effects of armed conflicts on treaties, together with an annex and a set of commentaries (A/63/10, para. 62). In accordance with articles 16 to 21 of its Statute, the Commission transmitted the draft articles, through the Secretary-General, to Governments for comments and observations, with the request that such comments and observations be submitted to the Secretary-General by 1 January 2010 (A/63/10, para. 63).

In resolution 63/123 of 11 December 2008, the General Assembly expressed its appreciation to the Commission for the completion of the first reading of the draft articles on the topic “Effects of armed conflicts on treaties” and drew attention of Governments to the importance for the Commission of having their comments and observations on the draft articles and commentaries thereto by the requested date.

Following the resignation from the Commission of Mr. Ian Brownlie, the Commission appointed Mr. Lucius Caflisch as Special Rapporteur for the topic at its sixty-first session, in 2009 (A/64/10, para. 229).

At its sixty-second session, in 2010, the Commission had before it the first report of the new Special Rapporteur (A/CN.4/627 and Add.1), containing his proposals for the reformulation of the draft articles as adopted on first reading, taking into account the comments and observations of Governments. The Commission also had before it a compilation of written comments and observations received from Governments (A/CN.4/622 and Add.1). The Commission referred draft articles 1 to 17 to the Drafting Committee (A/65/10, para. 190).

At the sixty-third session, in 2011, the Commission continued and completed the second reading (commenced at its sixty-second session in 2010) of the draft articles on the effects of armed conflicts on treaties. The Commission was thus able to adopt, on second reading, a set of 18 draft articles and an annex (containing a list of treaties the subject matter of which involves an implication that they continue in operation, in whole or in part, during armed conflict), together with commentaries thereto, on the topic (A/66/10, paras. 100 and 101). The draft articles were divided into three parts, as follows: Part I entitled “Scope and definitions” (articles 1 and 2); Part II entitled “Principles” (articles 3 to 13); and Part III entitled “Miscellaneous” (articles 14 to 18).

In accordance with article 23 of its Statute, the Commission recommended to the General Assembly to take note of the draft articles in a resolution and to annex them to the resolution, and to consider, at a later stage, the elaboration of a convention on the basis of the draft articles (A/66/10, para. 97).

In resolution 66/99 of 9 December 2011, the General Assembly took note of the articles on the effects of armed conflicts on treaties, the text of which was annexed to the resolution, and commended them to the attention of Governments without prejudice to the question of their future adoption or other appropriate action. It further decided to return to the topic at its sixty-ninth session, in 2014, with a view to examining, inter alia, the question of the form that might be given to the draft articles.

Documents

Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-second session, 1 May to 9 June and 10 July to 18 August 2000 (A/55/10, reproduced in Yearbook of the International Law Commission 2000, vol. II, Part Two (A/CN.4/SER.A/2000/Add.1 (Part 2)/Rev.1) (Situation of human rights in Cambodia)

General Assembly resolution 55/152 of 12 December 2000 (Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-second session)

General Assembly resolution 56/82 of 12 December 2001 (Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-third session)

Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-sixth session, 3 May to 4 June and 5 July to 6 August 2004 (A/59/10)

General Assembly resolution 59/41 of 2 December 2004 (Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-sixth session)

Topical summary of the discussion held in the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly during its fifty-ninth session, prepared by the Secretariat (A/CN.4/549 and Add.1, 31 January and 7 May 2005)

Memorandum by the Secretariat, The effect of armed conflict on treaties: an examination of practice and doctrine, (A/CN.4/550, Corr.1 and Corr.2, 1 February, 3 June and 7 November 2005)

First report on the effects of armed conflicts on treaties by Mr. Ian Brownlie, Special Rapporteur (A/CN.4/552, 21 April 2005)

Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-seventh session, 2 May to 3 June and 11 July to 5 August 2005 (A/60/10)

International Law Commission, fifty-seventh session, provisional summary records of meetings nos. 2834 to 2840 and 2866, held on 6 to 18 May and 5 August 2005 (A/CN.4/SR.2834, 2835, 2836, 2837, 2838, 2839, 2840 and 2866)

General Assembly resolution 60/22 of 23 November 2005 (Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-seventh session)

Topical summary of the discussion held in the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly during its sixtieth session, prepared by the Secretariat (A/CN.4/560, 13 January 2006)

Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-eighth session, 1 May to 9 June and 3 July to 11 August 2006 (A/61/10)

Second report on the effects of armed conflicts on treaties by Mr. Ian Brownlie, Special Rapporteur (A/CN.4/570 and Corr.1, 16 June and 12 July 2006)

International Law Commission, fifty-eight session, provisional summary records of meetings nos. 2895 to 2898, held on 18 to 21 July 2006 (A/CN.4/SR.2895, 2896, 2897 and 2898)

Topical summary of the discussion held in the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly during its sixty-first session, prepared by the Secretariat (A/CN.4/577, Add.1 and Add.2, 19 and 23 January and 20 February 2007)

Third report on the effects of armed conflicts on treaties by Mr. Ian Brownlie, Special Rapporteur (A/CN.4/578 and Corr.1, 1 March and 24 July 2007)

Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-ninth session, 7 May to 5 June and 9 July to 10 August 2007 (A/62/10)

International Law Commission, fifty-ninth session, provisional summary records of meetings nos. 2926 to 2929 and 2946, held on 29 May to 1 June and 2 August 2007 (A/CN.4/SR.2926, 2927, 2928, 2929 and 2946)

Report of the Working Group, Effects of armed conflicts on treaties (A/CN.4/L.718, 24 July 2007)

Fourth report on the effects of armed conflicts on treaties by Mr. Ian Brownlie, Special Rapporteur (A/CN.4/589 and Corr.1, 14 November 2007 and 16 April 2008)

General Assembly resolution 62/66 of 6 December 2007 (Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-ninth session)

Topical summary of the discussion held in the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly during its sixty-second session, prepared by the Secretariat (A/CN.4/588, 24 January 2008)

Comments and observations received from international organizations (A/CN.4/592 and Add.1, 27 February and 21 April 2008)

Note by the Chairperson of the Working Group on effects of armed conflicts on treaties, Draft article 8 (A/CN.4/L.721, 5 May 2008)

Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixtieth session, 5 May to 6 June and 7 July to 8 August 2008 (A/63/10)

International Law Commission, sixtieth session, provisional summary records of meetings nos. 2964, 2968, 2973, 2980, 2993 and 2994, held on 16 and 29 May, 6 June, 17 July and 6 August 2008 (A/CN.4/SR.2964, 2968, 2973, 2980, 2993 and 2994)

Report of the Working Group, Effects of armed conflicts on treaties (A/CN.4/L.726, 26 May 2008)

Report of the Drafting Committee, Texts of draft articles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 [5bis], 7 [5], 8, 9 [8 bis], 10 [8 ter], 11 [8 quater], 12 [9], 13 [10], 14 [11], 15, 16 [12], 17 [13], 18 [14] provisionally adopted on first reading by the Drafting Committee on 4 June 2008 (A/CN.4/L.727/Rev.1, 6 June 2008)

Report of the Drafting Committee, Addendum, Texts of draft articles 5 and 13 and annex provisionally adopted on first reading by the Drafting Committee on 9 and 10 July 2008 (A/CN.4/L.727/Rev.1/Add.1, 11 July 2008)

General Assembly resolution 63/123 of 11 December 2008 (Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixtieth session)

Topical summary of the discussion held in the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly during its sixty-third session, prepared by the Secretariat (A/CN.4/606 and Add.1, 21 January 2009)

Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixty-first session, 4 May to 5 June and 6 July to 7 August 2009 (A/64/10)

Topical summary of the discussion held in the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly during its sixty-fourth session, prepared by the Secretariat (A/CN.4/620 and Add.1, 26 January 2010)

Comments and information received from Governments (A/CN.4/622 and Add.1, 15 March and 11 May 2010)

First report on the effects of armed conflicts on treaties by Mr. Lucius Caflisch, Special Rapporteur (A/CN.4/627 and Add.1, 22 March and 21 April 2010)

Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixty-second session, 3 May to 4 June and 5 July to 6 August 2010 (A/65/10)

International Law Commission, sixty-second session, provisional summary records of meetings nos. 3051 to 3056 and 3058 to 3061, held on 26 May to 3 June and 5 to 8 July 2010 (A/CN.4/SR.3051, 3052, 3053, 3054, 3055, 3056, 3058, 3059, 3060 and 3061)

Topical summary of the discussion held in the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly during its sixty-fifth session, prepared by the Secretariat (A/CN.4/638, 19 January 2011) Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixty-third session, 26 April to 3 June and 4 July to 12 August 2011 (A/66/10)

Report of the Drafting Committee, Titles and texts of the draft articles on the effects of armed conflicts on treaties adopted by the Drafting Committee on second reading (A/CN.4/L.777, 11 May 2011)

International Law Commission, sixty-third session, provisional summary records of meetings nos. 3089 and 3116 to 3118, held on 17 May and 2 to 5 August 2011 (A/CN.4/SR.3089, 3116, 3117 and 3118)

Note on the recommendation to be made to the General Assembly about the draft articles on the effects of armed conflicts on treaties by Mr. Lucius Caflisch, Special Rapporteur (A/CN.4/644, 18 May 2011)

Note on draft article 5 and the annex to the draft articles by Mr. Lucius Caflisch, Special Rapporteur (A/CN.4/645, 18 May 2011)

General Assembly resolution 66/98 of 9 December 2011 (Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixty-third session)

General Assembly resolution 66/99 of 9 December 2011 (Effects of armed conflicts on treaties)

Topical summary of the discussion held in the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly during its sixty-sixth session, prepared by the Secretariat (A/CN.4/650 and Add.1, 20 January 2012)