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date: 09 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Quite paradoxically given the importance of the topic in the system of international law, issues pertaining to responsibility of states and international organizations are not dealt with in treaties of universal character or “United Nations” treaties. So far, the General Assembly has merely taken note of the Articles on State Responsibility and the Articles on the Responsibility of International Organizations—respectively adopted by the International Law Commission (ILC) in 2001 and 2011—and refrained from taking any decision as to the final status of these texts. Three options are available: keeping the formal status quo, adopting the Articles as a General Assembly declaration, or using the text as a basis for a United Nations Convention on Responsibility. While the latter option would bring the Articles on state responsibility outside the realm of soft law, it could also have a “decodifying effect,” insofar that it could threaten the balance carefully designed by the ILC. Even though the 2001 Articles will most likely retain their current status, drafting a treaty on state responsibility could however prove useful.

Keywords: international responsibility, states, international organizations, soft law, decodifying effect

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