Vienna Convention on Succession of States in Respect of Treaties

General Detail

General Information

  1. Type: Convention
  2. Date of signature:
  3. Place of signature: Vienna, Austria
  4. Depositary:
  5. Date of entry into force: 06/11/1996


Treaties law

Sub category



What is it about?

This instrument, initiated by the International Law Commission (ILC), aims at regulating the fate of treaties in instances of State succession (it acts in situations in which one State substitutes another in the responsibility for the international relations of a territory). The Convention of 1978 envisions two situations: first successions that only concern one part of a territory (when the successor is not a new State), and second successions which lead to the creation of States. In the first case, treaties concluded by the successor State are extended to the transferred territory to which the treaties of the predecessor applied (principle of automatic extension). In the second case, the successor state is a non-member state with respect to the treaties of the predecessor. It cannot, except in particular cases, receive its benefits (principle of intransmissibility). The provisions of this instrument regulate both bilateral treaties and multilateral treaties.

Why is it relevant?

The 1978 Vienna Convention makes it possible to determine which are the obligations which international law imposes on States successors as regards treaties. Many of its provisions are drawn from customary international law. This convention, initially adopted in order to answer the difficulties caused by the appearance of new States following colonization, has seen its utility reinforced during the recent creation of states following the dissolution of the USSR and that of Yugoslavia.

Additional Information

The 1978 Convention is limited to the succession of states in respect of treaties. The effect of State succession in other matters (property, archives, state debts) is covered by the Convention on Succession of States in respect of State Property, Archives and Debts (Vienna, April 8, 1983).


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