Vienna Convention on Succession of States in respect of State Property, Archives and Debts

General Information

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

Category

Treaties law

Sub category

General

Groups

What is it about?

The 1983 Vienna Convention codifies laws applicable to State property, archives and debts following a State succession. State property is defined as the property, rights and interests that, at the date of the succession of States, were, according to the internal law of the predecessor State, owned by that State. Generally, the State that has control over the territory where the assets are located succeeds the previous State in ownership. A similar regime applies to archives. Regarding State debts, the rule of “equitable proportion” applies. When part of the territory of a State is transferred by that State to another State, the passing of the State debt is to be settled by agreement. In the absence of such an agreement, the State debt of the predecessor State passes to the successor State in “equitable proportion”, taking into account the property, rights and interests which pass to the successor State in relation to that State debt.

Why is it relevant?

The Treaty was inspired by the profound transformation of the international community brought about by the decolonization process. In the words of the International Law Commission, it addresses the “need for the codification and progressive development of the rules relating to succession of States in respect of State property, archives and debts as a means for ensuring greater juridical security in international relations”.

Additional Information

Some non-parties have cited complaint that the agreement does not adequately provide for debts owed by States to private individuals and corporations.

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