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Last update: September 24, 2018

Summaries of the Work of the International Law Commission

Succession of States in respect of State responsibility

See also: Analytical Guide | Texts and Instruments

At its sixty-ninth session, in 2017, the International Law Commission decided to include the topic "Succession of States in respect of State responsibility" in its programme of work, on the basis of the recommendation of the Working Group on the long-term programme of work. The Commission decided to appoint Mr. Pavel Šturma as Special Rapporteur for the topic.

At the same session, the Commission had before it the first report of the Special Rapporteur,1 which sought to set out the Special Rapporteur’s approach to the scope and outcome of the topic, and to provide an overview of general provisions relating to the topic. Following the debate in plenary, the Commission decided to refer draft articles 1 to 4, as contained in the report of the Special Rapporteur, to the Drafting Committee. The Commission subsequently took note of the interim report of the Chair of the Drafting Committee on draft articles 1 and 2 provisionally adopted by the Committee, which was submitted to the Commission for information.

At its seventieth session, in 2018, the Commission had before it the second report of the Special Rapporteur.2 In his report, which was composed of four parts, the Special Rapporteur at first addressed certain introductory issues, including the legality of succession (Part One). He then discussed the general rules on succession of States in respect of State responsibility, particularly in relation to attribution and in relation to the difference between continuing and completed breaches (Part Two). Thereafter, the Special Rapporteur considered certain special categories of State succession to the obligations arising from responsibility (Part Three). The future programme of work on the topic was then addressed (Part Four). The Special Rapporteur proposed seven draft articles corresponding to the issues considered in Part One (draft article 5), Part Two (draft article 6), and Part Three (draft articles 7 to 11) of his report.

Following the debate in plenary, the Commission decided to refer draft articles 5 to 11, as contained in the second report of the Special Rapporteur, to the Drafting Committee.3 The Commission subsequently took note of the interim report of the Chair of the Drafting Committee on draft article 1, paragraph 2, and draft articles 5 and 6, provisionally adopted by the Drafting Committee, which was submitted to the Commission for information only.4

At the same session, the Commission decided to request from the Secretariat a memorandum providing information on treaties registered pursuant to Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations which may be of relevance to its future work on the topic.5

1 See document A/CN.4/708.

2 See document A/CN.4/719.

3 Official Records of the General Assembly, Seventy-third Session, Supplement No. 10 (A/73/10), para. 223.

4 Ibid., para. 224.

5 Ibid., para. 225.