International Law Commission International Law Commission

Last update: December 4, 2017

Analytical Guide to the Work of the International Law Commission

Succession of States in respect of treaties

See also: Summary | Texts and Instruments

Mandate

Studies undertaken by the Secretariat and Reports of the Secretary-General

  • 20th session of the International Law Commission (1968)
    • Succession of States to multilateral treaties: studies prepared by the Secretariat
  • 21st session of the International Law Commission (1969)
    • Succession of States to multilateral treaties: sixth study prepared by the Secretariat
  • 22nd session of the International Law Commission (1970)
    • Succession of States to multilateral treaties: seventh study prepared by the Secretariat
  • Succession of States in respect of bilateral treaties: study prepared by the Secretariat
  • Supplement to the "Digest of the Decisions of international tribunals relating to State succession"
  • 23rd session of the International Law Commission (1971)
    • Succession of States in respect of bilateral treaties: Second and third studies prepared by the Secretariat [Air transport agreements and Trade agreements]
  • 24th session of the International Law Commission (1972)
    • Supplement, prepared by the Secretariat, to Materials on succession of States (U.N. publication, Sales No. E/F.68.V.5)

Reports of the Working Group or Sub-Committee

None

Reports of the Special Rapporteur

  • First four draft articles of a general and preliminary character, with commentaries: use of terms; international agreements not within the scope of the present articles.
    • First report of the Special Rapporteur, Sir Humphrey Waldock (20th session of the ILC (1968))
  • Four draft articles: use of certain terms; the area of territory passing from the State to another; devolution agreements; and unilateral declarations by successor States.
    • Second report of the Special Rapporteur, Sir Humphrey Waldock (21st session of the ILC (1969))
  • Additional provisions on the use of terms, eight draft articles (arts. 5–12) providing for the participation of "new States", in regard to multilateral treaties.
    • Third report of the Special Rapporteur, Sir Humphrey Waldock (22nd session of the ILC (1970))
  • Draft articles (arts. 13–17) dealing with the general rules governing the position of "new States" in regard to bilateral treaties.
    • Fourth report of the Special Rapporteur, Sir Humphrey Waldock (23rd session of the ILC (1971))
  • Draft Articles (arts. 18–24) dealing with rules applicable to particular categories of succession and to the "dispositive", "localized" or "territorial" treaties.
    • Fifth report of the Special Rapporteur, Sir Humphrey Waldock (24th session of the ILC (1972))
  • Summary of the comments of Governments; Proposals on the revision of the draft articles.
    • First report of the Special Rapporteur, Sir Francis Vallat (26th session of the ILC (1974))

Reports of the Drafting Committee

  • 24th session of the International Law Commission (1972)
    • Texts adopted by the Drafting Committee on first reading: arts 0, 1, 1bis, 1ter, 1quater, 1quinquies, 2–8, 8bis, 9–11, X, 12–13, 15, 17, 17bis, 17ter, 17quater, 17quinquies, 19–22, 22bis
  • Text of article 2 adopted by the Drafting Committee on second reading
  • 26th session of the International Law Commission (1974)
    • Texts adopted by the Drafting Committee: titles of parts I, II, III (sects. 1–5), IV, and VI, and arts. 1–6, 6 bis, 7–26, 26 bis, 26 ter, 27, 28, 28 bis, 28 ter, 29, 30, 30 bis, 31, 31 bis and 31 ter
  • Texts adopted by the Drafting Committee: arts. 6 and 6 bis
  • Final text adopted by the Drafting Committee

Comments by Governments

  • 26th session of the International Law Commission (1974)
    • Observations of Member States on the draft articles on succession of States in respect of treaties adopted by the Commission at its twenty-fourth session
  • Observations of Member States on the draft articles on succession of States in respect of treaties adopted by the Commission at its twenty-fourth session: observations of Ethiopia

Other

  • 24th session of the International Law Commission (1972)
    • Draft articles on succession in respect of treaties: general article submitted by the Special Rapporteur as a possible means of covering the question of lawfulness
  • 26th session of the International law Commission (1974)
    • Article for insertion in Part I of the draft article on succession of States in respect of treaties, proposed by Mr. Ushakov
  • Text of article 32 proposed by Mr. Kearney
  • Article 12 bis (with new paragraph for insertion in article 2) proposed by Mr. Ushakov
  • Draft resolution submitted by Mr. El-Erian

Reports of the International Law Commission

  • Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its twentieth session, 27 May to 2 August 1968
    • Discussed the Special Rapporteur's report and concluded that it was not called upon to make any decisions.
    • Discussion in the Plenary: 965th, 966th, 967th and 968th meeting (1 to 9 July 1968)
  • Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its twenty-first session, 2 June to 8 August 1969
    • The Commission was unable to discuss the second report of the Special Rapporteur.
  • Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its twenty-second session, 4 May to 10 July 1970
    • The Commission held discussion on the basis of the Special Rapporteur's report, and endorsed his general approach to the topic. It considered in a preliminary manner the draft articles proposed in the second and third reports of the Special Rapporteur, but did not take any formal decisions.
    • Discussion in the Plenary: 1067th and 1068th meetings (10 and 11 June 1970), and 1070th, 1071st and 1072nd meetings (15 June to 17 June 1970)
  • Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its twenty-third session, 26 April to 30 June 1971
    • The Special Rapporteur presented his fourth report, but owing to a lack of time, the Commission was unable to discuss it.
  • Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its twenty-fifth session, 7 May to 13 July 1973
    • Following the resignation of the Special Rapporteur, the Commission appointed Sir Francis Vallat as the new Special Rapporteur for the topic.
  • Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its twenty-sixth session, 6 May to 26 July 1974
    • Re-examined the draft articles in light of the comments submitted by Governments. On the basis of the first report of the Special Rapporteur, Sir Francis Vallat, the Commission adopted the final text of the draft articles on succession of States in respect of treaties as a whole, with commentaries, and submitted it to the General Assembly with a recommendation that the Assembly invite Member States to submit their written comments and observations on the draft articles. It also recommended that the Assembly convene a conference of plenipotentiaries to study the draft articles and conclude a convention on the subject.
    • Discussion in Plenary: 1264th meeting (24 May 1974), 1266th, 1267th, 1268th, 1269th, 1270th, 1271st, 1272nd, and 1273rd meetings (28 May to 7 June 1974), 1279th, 1280th, 1281st, 1282nd, 1283rd, 1284th, 1285th, 1286th, 1287th, 1288th, 1289th and 1290th meetings (17 June to 5 July 1974), and 1293rd, 1294th, 1295th and 1296th meetings (12 to 18 July 1974)

General Assembly Action

  • Resolution 2780 I (XXVI) of 3 December 1971
    • Recommended that the Commission continue its work on the topic with a view to completing in 1972 the first reading of the draft articles on succession of States in respect of treaties
 
  • Resolution 2926 (XXVII) of 28 November 1972
    • Recommended that the Commission continue its work on the sub-topic in the light of comments received from Member States on the provisional draft articles on succession of States in respect of treaties adopted on first reading.
 
 

Final Outcome

International Law Commission (26th session, 1974)

  • Recommended that the General Assembly should invite Member States to submit their written comments and observations on the Commission's final draft articles on succession of States in respect of treaties and convene an international conference of plenipotentiaries to study the draft articles and to conclude a convention on the subject.

General Assembly

  • Resolution 3315 (XXIX) of 14 December 1974
    • Invited Member States to submit their written comments and observations on the draft articles prepared by the Commission and on the procedure by which and the form in which work on the draft articles should be completed.
  • Resolution 3496 (XXX) of 15 December 1975
    • Decided to convene a conference of plenipotentiaries in 1977 to consider the draft articles and to embody the results in an international convention and such other instruments as it might deem appropriate.
  • Resolution 31/18 of 24 November 1976
  • Resolution 32/47 of 8 December 1977
    • Approved the resumed session of the Conference, held at Vienna from 31 July to 23 August 1978.2
 

1 Initially considered under the rubric of "Succession of States and Governments", which was divided into three topics in 1967, the first being "Succession of States in Respect of Treaties".

2 The conference was held as scheduled, resulting in the adoption of the Vienna Convention on Succession of States in Respect of Treaties on 22 August 1978 (United Nations publications, Sales No.F.79.V.10).