Institutional aspects of the Guide to Practice on Reservations

The aim of the Guide to Practice on Reservations to Treaties is to assist practitioners of international law, who are often faced with sensitive problems concerning, in particular, the validity and effects of reservations to treaties, and interpretative declarations.  The chief interest in the Guide will in the light it shines on the many difficult substantive and procedural issues concerning reservations and declarations left open by the Vienna Conventions.  But the institutional aspects are also of considerable practical interest. The present contribution considers some of the institutional or cooperative bodies that may assist practitioners: depositaries; treaty monitoring bodies; the reservations dialogue; and ‘Mechanisms of assistance’.  The first two are well-established. The third and fourth are innovative, and it remains to be seen whether they will be adopted by states, and if so how useful they will be.  in any event, the Special Rapporteur has shown considerable foresight in proposing what became the annex to the Guide to Practice on the reservations dialogue, as well as the Commission’s resolution on ‘mechanisms of assistance’. 


*Please note: This paper was published in the European Journal of International Law, Volume 24, issue 4. It can be found on the EJIL website.