International Organizations and reservations to treaties: a critical review of the International Law Commission’s work
Reservations to multilateral treaties by International Organizations (IOs/Organizations) is one area where the distinction between the States and IOs is blurred. The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 1986 (1986 Vienna Convention) places IOs in a position analogous to that of States by establishing a similar regime for reservations. Besides, the International Law Commission’s Guide to Practice on Reservations to Treaties, 2011 (ILC Guide to Practice, 2011) chose to persist with the same approach. The question whether the nature of IOs could have any bearing on the subject of reservations needs closer scrutiny. Accordingly, the issues of compatibility of the system of reservations with the nature of IOs as well as the implications of the specificities of IOs for a regime of reservations that could be extended to them have been addressed in the present paper. The author argues that the system of reservations extended to IOs is compatible with the existing framework of international law. Nevertheless, the transposition of the specific reservations regime developed in the context of States to IOs is problematic and suffers from multiple challenges. The author explains how the existing reservations regime applicable to IOs fails to appreciate the complex relationship between “member-States” within Organization as well as the juridical distinction that exists between the States and IOs.