International Law Commission International Law Commission

Last update: June 6, 2016

Analytical Guide to the Work of the International Law Commission

Nationality in relation to the succession of States*

*At its forty-eighth session, in 1996, the Commission decided to proceed under this title, following the completion by the Commission of the preliminary study of the topic “State succession and its impact on the nationality of natural and legal persons”

See also: Summary | Texts and Instruments

Mandate

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

  • 51st session of the International Law Commission (1999)
    • Memorandum prepared by the Secretariat

Reports of the Working Group or Sub-Committee

  • 47th session of the International Law Commission (1995)
    • Report of the Working Group on State succession and its impact on the nationality of natural and legal persons
  • 48th session of the International Law Commission (1996)
    • Oral report (by the Chairman of the Working Group, the Special Rapporteur)
  • 50th session of the International Law Commission (1998)
    • Report of the Working Group
  • 51st session of the International Law Commission (1999)
    • Report of the Chairman of the Working Group on Nationality in relation to the Succession of States

Reports of the Special Rapporteur

  • Historical review and delimitation of the topic, terminology used; current relevance of the topic; nationality — concept and function; roles of internal and international law; limitations on the freedom of States in the area of nationality, categories of succession, scope of the problem under consideration; and continuity of nationality.
    • First Report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Vaclav Mikulka (47th session of the ILC (1995))
  • Main issues: introduction: previous work on the topic, consideration in other bodies of the problems of nationality arising in the context of State succession, work remaining in order to complete the preliminary study of the topic, major substantive issues to be examined by the Commission in the future; the nationality of natural persons: general issues, specific issues; the nationality of legal persons: scope of the problem of the nationality of legal persons and its characteristics, consideration of the problem of the nationality of legal persons in the Commission and in the Sixth Committee, questions to be examined by the Working Group during the forty-eighth session of the Commission; recommendations concerning future work on the topic: division of the topic into two parts, non-consideration of the problem of continuity of nationality, working method of the Commission in dealing with the topic, form which the outcome of the work on this topic might take.
    • Second Report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Vaclav Mikulka (48th session of the ILC (1996))
  • Contained a set of 25 draft articles on the topic, with commentaries. The draft articles were divided into two Parts, Part I on "General principles concerning nationality in relation to the succession of States" and Part II on "Principles applicable in specific situations of succession of States". A draft preamble and a provision concerning definitions were also proposed.
    • Third Report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Vaclav Mikulka (49th session of the ILC (1997))
  • Concerning the second part of the topic, on the question of nationality of legal persons in relation to the succession of States.
    • Fourth Report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Vaclav Mikulka (50th session of the ILC (1998))

Reports of the Drafting Committee

  • 49th session of the International Law Commission (1997)
    • Titles and texts of draft articles 1 to 18 on nationality
    • Titles and texts of draft articles 19 to 26 of Part II, text of a Preamble and the revised title of Part I on nationality
  • 51st session of the International Law Commission (1999)
    • Titles and texts of draft articles on Nationality of natural persons in relations to the succession of States adopted by the Drafting Committee on second reading.

Comments by Governments

  • 51st session of the International Law Commission (1999)
    • Comments and observations received from Governments

Other

None

Reports of the International Law Commission

  • Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its forty-fifth session, 3 May to 23 July 1993
    • The Commission decided to include the topic in its agenda, on the understanding that the final form to be given to the work on this topic would be decided after a preliminary study was presented to the General Assembly
    • Discussion in Plenary: 2317th meeting (7 July 1993)
  • Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its forty-sixth session, 2 May to 22 July 1994
    • The Commission appointed Mr. Vaclav Mikulka Special Rapporteur for the topic.
    • Discussion in Plenary: 2376th meeting (22 July 1994)
  • Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its forty-seventh session, 2 May to 21 July 1995
    • The Commission, after considering the Special Rapporteur's preliminary report, decided to establish a Working Group on the topic and to reconvene the Working Group at the next session to complete its task, in order to meet the request contained in para. 6 of General Assembly resolution 49/51.
    • Discussion in Plenary: 2385th meeting (17 May 1995), 2387th, 2388th, 2389th, 2390th and 2391st meetings (19, 23, 24, 26 and 30 May 1995), 2411th and 2413th meetings (5 and 7 July 1995)
  • Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its forty-eighth session, 6 May to 26 July 1996
    • The Commission, after considering the Special Rapporteur's second report on the topic, and an oral report by the Chairman of the Working Group on the work undertaken by the Group at the present session, decided, in accordance with the Working Group's conclusions, to recommend to the General Assembly that it should take note of the completion 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" (based on the approach formulated by the Working Group).
    • Discussion in Plenary: 2435th meeting (4 June 1996), 2451st meeting (2 July 1996), and 2459th meeting (12 July 1996)
  • Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its forty-ninth session, 12 May to 18 July 1997
    • The Commission, after considering the Special Rapporteur's third report, referred the draft articles (25) to the Drafting Committee. The Commission, after considering the Committee's report, adopted on first reading a draft preamble and a set of 27 draft articles on the topic and decided to transmit 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 1999.
    • Discussion in Plenary: 2475th, 2476th, 2477th, 2478th, 2479th, 2480th, 2481st, 2482nd, 2483rd, 2484th, 2485th and 2486th meetings (13 to 30 May 1997), 2488th, 2489th, 2490th, 2491st, 2492nd, 2493rd, 2494th, 2495th, 2496th, 2497th, 2498th and 2499th meetings (5 to 25 June 1997), 2504th and 2505th meetings (3 and 4 July 1997), 2507th, 2508th and 2509th meetings (8 to 10 July 1997)
  • Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fiftieth session, 20 April to 12 June 1998 and 27 July to 14 August 1998
    • The Commission had before it the Special Rapporteur's fourth report. The Commission established a Working Group to consider the question of the possible orientation to be given to the second part of the topic in order to facilitate the Commission's decision on this issue. The Working Group adopted several preliminary conclusions.
    • Discussion in Plenary: 2530th meeting (14 May 1998) and 2544th meeting (9 June 1998)
  • Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its fifty-first session, 3 May to 23 July 1999
    • The Commission had before it the Memorandum by the Secretariat (A/CN.4/497) containing an overview of the comments and observations of Governments, made either orally in the Sixth Committee or in writing. The Commission decided to re-establish the Working Group on "Nationality in relation to the succession of States". It subsequently considered the Report of the Chairman of the Working Group (A/CN.4/L.572) and referred the draft preamble and a set of 26 draft articles to the Drafting Committee. The Commission considered the report of the Drafting Committee and adopted the final text of the draft articles on nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States. It subsequently adopted the commentaries to the draft articles.
    • Discussion in Plenary: 2566th meeting (4 May 1999), 2569th meeting (7 May 1999), 2572nd meeting (14 May 1999), 2579th and 2580th meetings (1 and 2 June 1999), 2603rd and 2604th meetings (15 and 16 July 1999), and 2606th and 2607th meetings (19 and 20 July 1999).

General Assembly Action

  • Resolution 48/31 of 9 December 1993
    • Endorsed the decision of the Commission to include the topic in its agenda, on the understanding that the final form to be given to the work on this topic would be decided after a preliminary study was presented to the General Assembly.
  • See topical summary of debate in the Sixth Committee (A/CN.4/457)
  • Resolution 49/51 of 9 December 1994
    • Endorsed the intention of the Commission to undertake work on the topic, on the understanding that the final form to be given to the work on this topic would be decided after a preliminary study was presented to the General Assembly and requested the Secretary-General to invite Governments to submit, by 1 March 1995, relevant materials including national legislation, decisions of national tribunals and diplomatic and official correspondence relevant to the topic.
  • Resolution 50/45 of 11 December 1995
    • Invited the Commission to continue its work on the topic along the lines indicated in the report. Requested the Secretary-General to again invite Governments to submit as soon as possible relevant materials, including treaties, national legislation, decisions of national tribunals and diplomatic and official correspondence relevant to the topic.
  • See topical summary of debate in the Sixth Committee (A/CN.4/472and Add.1)
  • Resolution 51/160 of 16 December 1996
    • Noted the completion of the preliminary study of the topic, and requested the Commission to undertake the substantive study of the topic "Nationality in relation to the succession of States" in accordance with the modalities provided for in para.88 of its report, and invited Governments to submit comments on the practical problems raised by the succession of States affecting the nationality of legal persons.
  • Resolution 52/156 of 15 December 1997
    • Expressed its appreciation to the Commission for the completion of the first reading of draft articles on nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States. Urged Governments to submit their comments and observations on the draft articles on nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States in writing by 1 October 1998. Invited Governments to submit comments and observations on the practical problems raised by the succession of States affecting the nationality of legal persons.
  • See topical summary of debate in the Sixth Committee (A/CN.4/483)

Final Outcome

International Law Commission (51st session, 1999)

  • Decided to recommend to the General Assembly the adoption, in the form of a declaration, of the draft articles on nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States. Furthermore, the Commission recalled the conclusion of the Working Group that "In the absence of positive comments from States, the Commission would have to conclude that States are not interested in the study of the second part of the topic", and taking into account that no such comments have been submitted by States, the Commission decided to recommend to the General Assembly that, with the adoption of the draft articles on nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States, the work of the Commission on the topic "Nationality in relation to the succession of States" be considered concluded.

General Assembly

  • Resolution 54/111 of 9 December 1999
    • Expressed its appreciation to the International Law Commission for the completion of the second reading of the draft articles on nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States, and noted that the Commission had completed its work on the topic "Nationality in relation to the succession of States".
  • See the website of the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly and the topical summary of debate in the Sixth Committee (A/CN.4/504 and Add.1)
  • Resolution 54/112 of 9 December 1999
    • Expressed its appreciation to the International Law Commission for its valuable work on nationality of natural persons in relation to the Succession of States and to the Special Rapporteur and the Chairman of the Working Group for their contribution to that work. Decided to include the item on the provisional agenda of its fifty-fifth session, with a view to the consideration of the draft articles and their adoption as a declaration at that session. Invited Governments to submit subsequently 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 General Assembly considering the elaboration of such a convention at a future session.
  • See the website of the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly and the topical summary of debate in the Sixth Committee (A/CN.4/504 and Add.1)
  • Resolution 55/153 of 12 December 2000
    • Took note of the articles on nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States, presented by the Commission in the form of a declaration, the text of which was annexed to the resolution. Invited Governments to take into account, as appropriate, the provisions contained in the articles and decided to include the item in the agenda of its fifty-ninth session.
  • See the website of the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly
  • Resolution 59/34 of 2 December 2004
    • 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. 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. 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. Decided to include the item in the provisional agenda of its sixty-third session.
  • See the website of the Sixth Committee of the General Assembl
  • Resolution 63/118 of 11 December 2008
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Decided to include in the provisional agenda of its sixty-sixth session (2011) the item entitled “Nationality of natural persons in relation to the succession of States”, with the aim of examining the subject, including the question of the form that might be given to the draft articles.
  • See the website of the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly
  • Resolution 66/92 of 9 December 2011
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • See the website of the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly