Vienna Convention on succession of States in respect of treaties


The Vienna Convention on Succession of States in Respect of Treaties, also known as the VCSST, is an international treaty that deals with the issue of state succession in relation to treaties. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 22 August 1978 and entered into force on 6 November 1996.

The VCSST provides a framework for determining the rights and obligations of successor states in relation to treaties concluded by the predecessor state. It applies when a state undergoes a change in its sovereignty, such as through the merger, separation, or dissolution of states.

The key principle of the VCSST is the continuity of treaties. It states that unless the treaty itself or the parties to the treaty otherwise agree, a succession of states does not affect the rights and obligations under the treaty. In other words, successor states are generally bound by the treaties entered into by their predecessor state.

However, the VCSST also recognizes that in certain cases, successor states may have the right to opt out of a treaty or to become a party to a treaty to which the predecessor state was not a party. This is referred to as “treaty state” or “treaty succession.” The specific rules regarding treaty succession are outlined in Articles 15 to 23 of the VCSST.

The VCSST also addresses various other aspects of state succession, including the division of treaty assets and liabilities, the interpretation and application of treaties in the context of succession, and the settlement of disputes arising from succession.

It is important to note that the VCSST applies only to states that are party to the convention. Not all states are party to the VCSST, and for those that are not, the rules of customary international law regarding state succession may apply.

Overall, the Vienna Convention on Succession of States in Respect of Treaties provides a legal framework to ensure the continuity and stability of treaty obligations in cases of state succession, contributing to the overall stability of the international legal system.

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