Articles on Nationality of Natural Persons in Relation to the Succession of States
1999
  • Introductory Note
  • Procedural History
  • Documents
  • Photo
F o r t h c o m i n g
Introductory note by Václav Mikulka

Former Director
Codification Division
United Nations Office of Legal Affairs

The Articles on Nationality of Natural Persons in Relation to the Succession of States were adopted by the International Law Commission at its fifty-first session, in 1999. At its fifty-fifth session, in 2000, the General Assembly took note of the Articles.

The International Law Commission commenced its work on this topic at its forty-sixth session, in 1994. A set of draft articles was adopted on first reading by the Commission at its forty-ninth session, in 1997, and was submitted to the General Assembly and to Governments for their comments. At its fifty-first session, in 1999, the Commission, after consideration of the comments received by Governments, adopted the final articles on the nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States. By resolution 55/153 of 12 December 2000, the General Assembly took note of the Articles, the text of which was annexed to the resolution, inviting Governments to take into account, as appropriate, the provision contained therein in dealing with the relevant issues. By resolution 59/34 of 2 December 2004, the Assembly further invited Governments to submit comments concerning the advisability of elaborating a legal instrument on the question. This matter was again considered by the General Assembly at its sixty-third session, in 2008, and at its sixty-sixth session, in 2011. By resolution 66/92 in 2011, the Assembly decided that, upon the request of any State, it will revert to the question of nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States at an appropriate time, in the light of the development of State practice in these matters.

The Articles consist of 26 articles, divided in two parts: Part I, containing “General Provisions”; and Part II, including “Provisions Relating to Specific Categories of Succession of States”. Part II is further divided into four sections, dealing with “Transfer of part of the territory” (Section 1), “Unification of States” (Section 2), “Dissolution of a State” (Section 3) and “Separation of part or parts of the territory” (Section 4).


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At the forty-eighth session of the General Assembly, in 1993, following the recommendation of its Sixth Committee (A/48/612), the Assembly adopted resolution 48/31 of 9 December 1993, by which, having considered the report of the International Law Commission on the work of its forty-fifth session (A/48/10), it endorsed, inter alia, the decision of the Commission to include in its agenda the topic “State succession and its impact on the nationality of natural and legal persons”, on the understanding that the final form to be given to the work on the topic would be decided after a preliminary study was presented to the General Assembly.

At its forty-sixth session, in 1994, the International Law Commission appointed Mr. Václav Mikulka as Special Rapporteur for the topic. At the forty-ninth session of the General Assembly, following the recommendation of its Sixth Committee (A/49/738), the Assembly adopted resolution 49/51 of 9 December 1994 by which, having considered the report of the International Law Commission on the work of its forty-sixth session (A/49/10), the Assembly again endorsed the decision of the Commission to undertake work on the topic in accordance with the terms of resolution 48/31. By resolution 49/51, the General Assembly also requested the Secretary-General to invite Governments to submit relevant materials to the Commission, including national legislation, decisions of national tribunals and diplomatic and official correspondence relevant to the topic.

At its forty-seventh and forty-eighth sessions, in 1995 and 1996, respectively, the International Law Commission considered the first and second reports submitted by the Special Rapporteur (A/CN.4/467; A/CN.4/474 and Corr.1-2). At these sessions, the Commission also convened a Working Group entrusted with the mandate to identify issues arising out of the topic, categorize those issues which were closely related thereto, give guidance to the Commission as to which issues could be most profitably pursued given contemporary concerns, and present the Commission with a calendar of actions to be undertaken. At the fiftieth session of the General Assembly, in 1995, following the recommendation of its Sixth Committee (A/50/638), the Assembly adopted resolution 50/45 of 11 December 1995 by which, having considered the report of the International Law Commission on the work of its forty-seventh session (A/50/10), it took note of the beginning of the work on the topic and invited the Commission to continue its work on the matter along the lines indicated in the report. By the same resolution, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to again invite Governments to submit materials relevant to the topic.

At its forty-eighth session, the International Law Commission, in accordance with the conclusions of the Working Group, recommended to the General Assembly that it take note of the preliminary study of the topic and that it request the Commission to undertake the substantive study of the topic entitled “Nationality in relation to the succession of States”, on the understanding that, inter alia: (a) consideration of the question of the nationality of natural persons would be separated from that of the nationality of legal persons and that priority would be given to the former; (b) without prejudicing a final decision, the result of the work on the question of the nationality of natural persons should take the form of a declaration of the General Assembly consisting of articles with commentaries; and (c) the decision on how to proceed with respect to the question of the nationality of legal persons would be taken upon completion of the work on the nationality of natural persons and in the light of the comments that the General Assembly may invite States to submit to it on the practical problems raised by a succession of States in the field of legal persons (Report of the Working Group, A/CN.4/L.507; Oral report by the Chairman of the Working Group, Report of the International Law Commission, A/51/10).

At the fifty-first session of the General Assembly, in 1996, following the recommendation of its Sixth Committee (A/51/626), the Assembly adopted resolution 51/160 of 16 December 1996, by which, having considered the report of the International Law Commission on the work of its forty-eighth session (A/51/10 and Corr.1), it took note of the completion of the preliminary study of the topic and requested the Commission to undertake the substantive study of the topic on the basis of the modalities provided for in its report.

At its forty-ninth session, in 1997, the Commission proceeded to examine the third report submitted by the Special Rapporteur (A/CN.4/480 and Add.1). The Commission adopted on first reading a draft preamble and a set of twenty-seven draft articles on the nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States, with commentaries, and decided to transmit them, through the Secretary-General, to Governments for comments and observations. At its fifty-second session, in 1997, following the recommendation of its Sixth Committee (A/52/648), the General Assembly adopted resolution 52/156 of 15 December 1997 by which, having considered the report of the International Law Commission on the work of its forty-ninth session (A/52/10), it drew the attention of Governments to the importance for the Commission of having their views on the draft articles, and urged them to submit their comments and observations in writing.

At its fifty-first session, in 1999, the Commission had before it a compilation of information provided by Governments (A/CN.4/493 and Corr.1) and a memorandum by the Secretariat containing an overview of the comments and observations of Governments, made either orally in the Sixth Committee or in writing. (A/CN.4/497). The Commission decided to re-establish the Working Group to review the text of the draft articles adopted on first reading, taking into account comments and observations received by Governments. On the basis of the report of the Chairman of the Working Group (A/CN.4/L.572), the Commission referred the draft preamble and a set of twenty-six draft articles to the Drafting Committee. Having considered the report of the Drafting Committee, the Commission adopted the final draft articles on nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States, with commentaries. At the same session, the Commission decided to recommend that the General Assembly adopt the draft articles in the form of a declaration (Report of the International Law Commission, A/54/10).

At the fifty-fourth session of the General Assembly, in 1999, following the recommendation of its Sixth Committee (A/54/610), the Assembly adopted resolution 54/112 of 9 December 1999 by which, having considered the report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-first session (A/54/10), it decided to include in the provisional agenda of its fifty-fifth session, in 2000, an item entitled “Nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States”, with a view to the consideration of the draft articles and their adoption as a declaration. By the same resolution, the General Assembly also invited Governments to submit comments and observations on the question of a convention on nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States, with a view to the Assembly considering the elaboration of such a convention at a future session.

At the fifty-fifth session of the General Assembly, in 2000, the Assembly, on the recommendation of its Sixth Committee (A/55/610), adopted resolution 55/153 of 12 December 2000, by which the Assembly took note of the articles, which were annexed to the resolution, invited Governments to take into account, as appropriate, the provisions contained in the articles in dealing with issues of nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States and recommended that all efforts be made for the wide dissemination of the text of the articles. It also decided to include in the provisional agenda of its fifty-ninth session, in 2004, an item entitled “Nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States”.

At its fifty-ninth session, in 2004, the General Assembly, on the recommendation of its Sixth Committee (A/59/504), adopted resolution 59/34 of 2 December 2004, by which it reiterated its invitation to Governments to take into account, as appropriate, the provisions of the articles in dealing with issues of nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States. It encouraged the elaboration, at the regional or subregional level, of legal instruments regulating questions of nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States, with a view, in particular, to preventing the occurrence of statelessness as a result of a succession of States, and invited Governments to submit comments concerning the advisability of elaborating a legal instrument on the question of nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States, including the avoidance of statelessness as a result of a succession of States. The Assembly further decided to include the item in the provisional agenda of its sixty-third session.

At its sixty-third session, in 2008, the General Assembly, on the recommendation of its Sixth Committee (A/63/436), adopted resolution 63/118 of 11 December 2008, which reiterated the requests and invitations contained in resolution 59/34.

At its sixty-sixth session, in 2011, the General Assembly, on the recommendation of its Sixth Committee (A/66/469), adopted resolution 66/92 of 9 December 2011. The Assembly reiterated its invitation to Governments to take into account, as appropriate, the provisions of the articles contained in the annex to resolution 55/153, in dealing with issues of nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States. The Assembly once again encouraged States to consider, as appropriate, at the regional or subregional levels, the elaboration of legal instruments regulating questions of nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States, with a view, in particular, to preventing the occurrence of statelessness as a result of a succession of States. The Assembly emphasized the value of the articles in providing guidance to the States dealing with issues of nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States, in particular concerning the avoidance of statelessness, and it decided that, upon the request of any State, it will revert to the question of nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States at an appropriate time, in the light of the development of State practice in those matters.


Text of the Instrument

Selected preparatory documents
(in chronological order)

International Law Commission, Summary records of meeting No. 2317, held on 7 July 1993 (A/CN.4/SR.2717, reproduced in Yearbook of the International Law Commission 1993, vol. I)

General Assembly, Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its forty-fifth session, May – July 1993 (A/48/10, reproduced in Yearbook of the International Law Commission 1993, vol. II (2))

Report of the Sixth Committee to the General Assembly (A/48/612, 3 December 1993)

General Assembly resolution 48/31 of 9 December 1993 (Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its forty-fifth session)

International Law Commission, Summary records of meeting No. 2376, held on 22 July 1994 (A/CN.4/SR.2376, reproduced in Yearbook of the International Law Commission 1994, vol. I)

General Assembly, Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its forty-sixth session, May – July 1994 (A/49/10)

Report of the Sixth Committee to the General Assembly (A/49/738, 2 December 1994)

General Assembly resolution 49/51 of 9 December 1994 (Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its forty-sixth session)

International Law Commission, Summary records of meetings Nos. 2385, 2387 to 2391, 2411 and 2413, held on 17, 19, 23, 24, 26and 30 May, 5 and 7 July 1995 (A/CN.4/SR.2385, A/CN.4/SR.2387, A/CN.4/SR.2388, A/CN.4/SR.2389, A/CN.4/SR.2390, A/CN.4/SR.2391, A/CN.4/SR.2411, A/CN.4/SR.2413, reproduced in Yearbook of the International Law Commission 1995, vol. I)

International Law Commission, First report on State succession and its impact on the nationality of natural and legal persons submitted by the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Mikulka (A/CN.4/467)

International Law Commission, Report of the Working Group on State Succession and its Impact on the Nationality of Natural and Legal Persons (A/CN.4/L.507, 23 June 1995)

General Assembly, Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its forty-seventh session, May – July 1995 (A/50/10)

Sixth Committee of the General Assembly, Summary records of meetings Nos. 18 to 24 and 44 of the fiftieth regular session, held on 19, 20, 25, 26, 27 October and 22 November 1995 (A/C.6/50/SR.18, A/C.6/50/SR.19, A/C.6/50/SR.20, A/C.6/50/SR.21, A/C.6/50/SR.22, A/C.6/50/SR.23, A/C.6/50/SR.24, A/C.6/50/SR.44)

Report of the Sixth Committee to the General Assembly (A/50/638, 5 December 1995)

General Assembly resolution 50/45 of 11 December 1995 (Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its forty-seventh session)

International Law Commission, Summary records of meetings Nos. 2435, 2451 and 2459, held on 4 June, 2 and 12 July 1996 (A/CN.4/SR.2435, A/CN.4/SR.2451, A/CN.4/SR.2459, reproduced in Yearbook of the International Law Commission 1996, vol. I)

International Law Commission, Second report on State succession and its impact on the nationality of natural and legal persons submitted by the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Mikulka (A/CN.4/474 and Corr.1-2, 17 April 1996)

General Assembly, Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its forty-eighth session, May – July 1996 (A/51/10)

International Law Commission, Oral report by the Chairman of the Working Group on State Succession and its Impact on the Nationality of Natural and Legal Persons (A/51/10, paras. 78-87, July 1996)

Sixth Committee of the General Assembly, Summary records of meetings Nos. 37 to 41 of the fifty-first regular session, held, respectively, from 11 to 15 November 1996 (A/C.6/51/SR.37, A/C.6/51/SR.38, A/C.6/51/SR.39, A/C.6/51/SR.40, A/C.6/51/SR.41)

Report of the Sixth Committee to the General Assembly (A/51/626, 3 December 1996)

General Assembly resolution 51/160 of 16 December 1996 (Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its forty-eighth session)

International Law Commission, Summary records of meetings Nos. 2475 to 2486, 2488 to 2499, 2504, 2505 and 2507 to 2509, held from 13 to 30 May, 5 to 25 June, 3, 4 and 8 to 10 July 1997 (A/CN.4/SR.2475, A/CN.4/SR.2476, A/CN.4/SR.2477, A/CN.4/SR.2478, A/CN.4/SR.2479, A/CN.4/SR.2480, A/CN.4/SR.2481, A/CN.4/SR.2482, A/CN.4/SR.2483, A/CN.4/SR.2484, A/CN.4/SR.2485, A/CN.4/SR.2486, A/CN.4/SR.2488, A/CN.4/SR.2489, A/CN.4/SR.2490, A/CN.4/SR.2491, A/CN.4/SR.2492, A/CN.4/SR.2493, A/CN.4/SR.2494, A/CN.4/SR.2495, A/CN.4/SR.2496, A/CN.4/SR.2497, A/CN.4/SR.2498, A/CN.4/SR.2499, A/CN.4/SR.2504, A/CN.4/SR.2505, A/CN.4/SR.2507, A/CN.4/SR.2508 and A/CN.4/SR.2509, reproduced in Yearbook of the International Law Commission 1997, vol. I)

International Law Commission, Third report on nationality in relation to the succession of States submitted by the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Mikulka (A/CN.4/480 and Add.1, 27 February 1997)

General Assembly, Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its forty-ninth session, May – July 1997 (A/52/10)

Sixth Committee of the General Assembly, Summary records of meetings Nos. 17 to 20 and 23 to 25 of the fifty-second regular session, held, respectively, on 30, 31 October,3, 6 and 7 November 1997 (A/C.6/52/SR.17, A/C.6/52/SR.18, A/C.6/52/SR.19, A/C.6/52/SR.20, A/C.6/52/SR.23, A/C.6/52/SR.24, A/C.6/52/SR.25)

Report of the Sixth Committee to the General Assembly (A/52/648, 25 November 1997)

General Assembly resolution 52/156 of 15 December 1997 (Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its forty-ninth session)

International Law Commission, Summary records of meetings Nos. 2530 and 2544, held on 14 May and 9 June 1998  (A/CN.4/SR.2530, A/CN.4/SR.2544, reproduced in Yearbook of the International Law Commission 1998, vol. I)

International Law Commission, Nationality in relation to the succession of States: Comments and observations received from Governments (A/CN.4/493 and Corr.1, 4 December 1998)

International Law Commission, Summary records of meetings Nos. 2566, 2569, 2572, 2579, 2580, 2603, 2604, 2606 and 2607, held on 4, 7 and 14 May, 1 and 2 June,15, 16, 19 and 20 July 1999 (A/CN.4/SR.2566, A/CN.4/SR.2569, A/CN.4/SR.2572, A/CN.4/SR.2579, A/CN.4/SR.2580, A/CN.4/SR.2603, A/CN.4/SR.2604, A/CN.4/SR.2606, A/CN.4/SR.2607, reproduced in Yearbook of the International Law Commission 1999, vol. I)

International Law Commission, Nationality in relation to the succession of States: Memorandum by the Secretariat (A/CN.4/497, 8 March 1999)

International Law Commission, Report of the Chairman of the Working Group on Nationality in relation to the Succession of States (A/CN.4/L.572, 12 May 1999)

General Assembly, Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-first session, May – July 1999 (A/54/10)

Sixth Committee of the General Assembly, Summary records of meetings Nos. 15 to 20, 22, 26, and 28 of the fifty-forth regular session, held, respectively, from 25 to 28 October, and 1, 4 and 5 November 1999 (A/C.6/54/SR.15, A/C.6/54/SR.16, A/C.6/54/SR.17, A/C.6/54/SR.18, A/C.6/54/SR.19, A/C.6/54/SR.20, A/C.6/54/SR.22, A/C.6/54/SR.26, A/C.6/54/SR.28)

Report of the Sixth Committee to the General Assembly (A/54/610, 30 November 1999)

General Assembly resolution 54/112 of 9 December 1999 (Nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States)

Sixth Committee of the General Assembly, Summary records of meeting No. 31 of the fifty-fifth regular session, held, respectively, on 16 November 2000 (A/C.6/55/SR.31)

Report of the Sixth Committee to the General Assembly (A/55/610, 28 November 2000)

General Assembly resolution 55/153 of 12 December 2000 (Nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States)

Sixth Committee of the General Assembly, Summary records of meetings Nos. 15 and 26 of the fifty-ninth regular session, held, respectively, on 23 March and 17 November 2004 (A/C.6/59/SR.15, A/C.6/59/SR.26)

Report of the Sixth Committee to the General Assembly (A/59/504, 19 November 2004)

General Assembly resolution 59/34 of 2 December 2004 (Nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States)

General Assembly, Summary records of meetings Nos. 11, 25 and 26 of the sixty-third regular session, held, respectively, on 3, 5 and 14 November 2008 (A/C.6/63/SR.11, A/C.6/63/SR.25, A/C.6/63/SR.26)

Report of the Sixth Committee to the General Assembly (A/63/436, 17 November 2008)

General Assembly resolution 63/118 of 11 December 2008 (Nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States)

Sixth Committee of the General Assembly, Summary records of meetings Nos. 15 and 29 of the sixty-sixth regular session, held, respectively, on 9 November 2011 and 7 February 2012 (A/C.6/63/SR.15, A/C.6/63/SR.29)

Report of the Sixth Committee to the General Assembly (A/66/469, 9 November 2011)

General Assembly resolution 66/92 of 9 December 2011 (Nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States)

     

6 September 2000
General Assembly, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
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