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Published by Enhelion, 2019-11-24 05:21:47

Module_6 (Pubic International Law)

Module_6 (Pubic International Law)




Bilateral & multilateral treaties have been prevalent since a long while. But international
organisations gained prominence only since the late nineteenth century. The evolution of
international organisations began with ad hoc conferences which were convened for a
specific purpose. Even though these were terminated after their objective was fulfilled, they
ultimately led to treaties being adopted. It was these treaties which evolved eventually into
international organisations which were permanent, and met on a regular basis.


In some ways, the limitations of ad hoc conferences were what led to the realisation that
permanent organs were required to deal with such problems. The limitations of these ad hoc
conferences were six-fold. Firstly, a new conference had to be held for every new problem.
This caused inordinate delays and complications. Secondly, these conferences were not used
as platforms for discussion and resolution. They, instead, ended up as rigid platforms for the
comparison of state policy. Thirdly, there was no concept of membership with drawn out
responsibilities and obligations as the conferences were held strictly on an invitation basis by
the sponsoring state or states. Fourthly, the decisions at such conferences had to be taken
unanimously, instead of a majority basis. Fifthly, the conferences discussed political issues,
but did not pose legal questions. Lastly, even though political issues were discussed, no
common solution could be found for the issues. These were the problems that plagued these
ad hoc conferences.

However, not all conferences were failures. In the American set up, regional conferences
were held periodically which, subsequently, led to the formation of the OAS. The positive
contribution of these regional conferences was four-fold. Firstly, the conferences were not
sponsored and convened by any particular state. The venue and time was decided during the
previous conference. Secondly, the Pan-American Union, which was the governing body,
prepared the agenda for every conference. Thirdly, as opposed to the ad hoc conferences
discussed earlier, preparatory work was possible to understand the agenda at hand. Lastly,

since the conferences were being held on a periodic basis, formal procedures could be
adopted in an elaborate manner.


Since the ad hoc conferences had limitations, people with common interests from different
countries developed associations or unions that had an international character. The interesting
aspect of these associations was that they did not involve governments initially. These
associations were formed based on the realisation that the former’s interests had an
international character and that promotion of the same was possible only through co-
operation with similar associations in other countries on a more permanent basis. Some
examples of such associations are International Committee of the Red Cross, the International
Law Association, World Anti-Slavery Convention of 1840, the International Chamber of
Commerce, etc. It could also be said that it was the human need of the hour that led to the
growth of international organisations.


In the late nineteenth century, a lot of international public unions were set up. They were
mostly of a non-political nature. They were international administrative unions which were
permanent in nature (They dealt with technical issues). Some examples of these international
administrative unions were the Universal Telegraphic Union, the Universal Postal Union, the
International Bureau of Railway Freight Transportation, etc. Even though voting in these
association was done on a unanimous basis, the major contribution towards international
organisations was the concept of a permanent standing organ. The latter lent it an institutional
element. Thus, in this regard, these administrative organisations could be seen as the
frontrunners of international organisations through the permanence of association.

The Rhine Commission was one of the first major departures from the rule of unanimity. The
concepts of weighted voting and proportionate budgetary contributions provided solutions to
some tricky problems wherein the principle of equality was unable to do so. Also, the
interests of non-state actors such as dependent territories, private corporations or associations,
etc were represented. The pragmatism with which such realities were recognised showed the
path forward. These features made states aware of the possible benefits of setting up
international organisations for furthering common interests without it being detrimental to
any of the states involved.


Ever since the end of World War II, the number of public international organisations have
grown exponentially. The membership of these organisations varies greatly, along with their
diverse nature. The topics that they deal with range from whaling control, river commissions
to peace (the United nations) and development (IBRD, IDA, etc.). It is an undisputed fact that
these organisations have impacted the lives of people of various countries. International
organisations have created a friendly and effective means of conducting international
dialogue by influencing the equations between countries in a positive manner. The impact of
these international organisations can be seen from the fact that a lot of states have gotten
accustomed to seek help from these organisations. For instance, the interest of these
organisations for the protection of human rights has emboldened the less developed countries
to seek solutions to their problems from the former. However, it has also become clear that
the commonness of these organisations is a response to need as opposed to an ideological
need for a world government. A large number of these organisations are unconnected to each
other. However, connections can be established subsequently giving rise to order and
hierarchy among the members. New problems in international relations are never considered
without international organisations being developed for dealing with the same. To deal with
the increasing complexities of international trade, WTO was established. Despite the cultural
diversity and political differences, countries have thus been unified and been drawn to each
other. In some ways, governments have started looking beyond their borders and have started
focussing on the problems of the world. These problems have transcended national
boundaries and have attained an international nature. As a result, governments have resorted
to resolving them through international organisations.

Global international organisations have benefited millions through their programmes. Their
contribution cannot be denied. For example, the role of the United Nations for the
maintenance of peace, especially after the Cold War needs to be recognised. Peaceful co-
existence has become possible due to international organisations. It is being acknowledged
that interdependence is practical and politically acceptable.

A very important factor in the growth of international organisations is the fact that countries
have accepted that obligations and limitations on powers and liberties are necessary to a
certain extent. They no longer believe that these limitations are infringements of their
sovereign powers. Regardless of the above, there is a need to consolidate functions and avoid

financial wastage. Overlapping jurisdictional authority because of multiplicity of
international organisations has increased expenses for states as well as the taxpayers for their
maintenance. Hence, there is a need for consolidation.


This module is concerned about public international organisations, not private international
organisations (NGOs). The former generally comes into being by a treaty or a convention
which usually have states as members. International organisations are usually classified based
on the purpose for which the classification is being made. There are four main distinctions
regarding the functioning and structure of international organisations. Firstly, there needs to
be differentiation between public, inter-state and private organisations. Secondly, there needs
to be differentiation between open and closed organisations. Thirdly, there is a distinction
between organisations that are supra-national and those that are not. Lastly, general
organisations are much different from technical organisations. There are other classifications
such as those between permanent and temporary organisations, judicial and non-judicial
organisations, etc. These organisations start from inter-state bodies that have been brought
into force by multilateral treaties, to specialised bodies of the United Nations, to certain
organisations with closed membership but wider interests (e.g, OAU), to bodies whose
subject matter and membership is closed


For the purpose of understanding international organisations, it is not necessary to allocate a
formal definition to the former. Instead of a formal definition, the basic characteristics of
public international organisations that differentiate them from private international
organisations need to be understood. They are as follows;

➢ Public international organisations need to be established by some sort of an agreement
between countries.

➢ They must possess some form of a constitution.
➢ Public international organisations must possess organs that are distinct from that of its

➢ The organisation must have been established in accordance with international law.
➢ The membership must be, predominantly, of states or governments.

Private organisations do not have most of these characteristics. For instance, NGOs are not
formed under the aegis of international law. They also don’t have predominant state or
government membership. There are other characteristics that are talked about while
mentioning public international organisations. One feature is that public international
organisations have an international personality, one that is separate from that of its members.
The other feature is that international organisations have the capacity to make treaties. These
features are generally present in almost all public international organisations. However, it is
regarded that these two features are not critical for the definition of public international
organisations. Rather, they are the result of the organisation being a public international
organisation. In this manner, public international organisations can be distinguished from
private international organisations. Open/Universal public international organisations are
distinct from that of closed organisations. The former are open to universal membership
while the latter have a restricted membership. It is the eligibility that is of importance while
determining the category.

The other distinction that needs to be made is between judicial and non-judicial bodies. There
are some international judicial bodies which are not regarded as separate international
organisations. For example, the ICJ, even though an independent body, is an organ that
belongs to another international institution. It strictly does not have its own existence, even
though it has its own statute. The International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea is a different
category. This is because it was created under a separate convention.


The constitution of an international organisation is the conventional source of the law relating
to that international organisation. Customary international law is important for the
interpretation of texts, while the opinions of the legal advisors helps to expand the
constitution of the international institution. The sources of law regarding some areas such as
employment relations are peculiar to that area. The following are widely regarded as the
sources of law relevant to international organisations;

➢ An organisation must have a constitution. Its interpretation is equally important.
➢ The relevant legislative documents of an organization
➢ The organization’s practise of law-creation
➢ The general principles of the relevant law are equally important as sources of law.

➢ Another important source of law for international organisations is customary
international law. The type that is applicable to the interpretation of constitutions and
legislative texts of the organizations. Also included under this are the documents
related to the responsibilities of the organisation.

➢ Conventional law, that type that is applicable to most universal organizations;
➢ The last source are judicial decisions, to the extent that they deal with general

principles for the interpretation of texts.

Even though all the sources are considered to be valid, the general principles are quite
critical. The role of general principles should not be underrated as the interpretation of
relevant texts.


Due to an increase in the variety and number of international organisations, it is clear that
these organisations have had an impact on the development of international law. This is more
relevant when it comes to the United Nations, though it cannot be said that every activity of
the former becomes a part of customary international law. International organisations follow
legal norms which guide their work and help shape their actions. International organisations
have been defined by the International Law Commission in Art. 2 of its Draft Commission to
be “an organisation established by s treaty or other instrument governed by international law
and possessing its own legal personality”. It was also held that entities other than states may
be included as members. Based on their constitution, organisations tend to have a broad or
narrow set of functions. In order to be considered an international organisation, it needs to
possess at least some of the below criteria.


An international organisation must distinctly possess an international legal personality along
with a personality under domestic law. After this is confirmed, it is understood that the
organisations are subjects of international law, and thus can enforce rights and duties upon
countries separately from that of their local application. It is critical to recognise that not all
systems of co-operation between two or more countries establish a distinct legal personality.

The terms of the instrument which established the organisation is looked at for the
determination of the question of personality. In a few instances, the countries concluding the
instrument tend to make it clear in the constituent treaty that they want the organisation to

have an international personality or not. More commonly, based on the purpose or the powers
of the organisation, personality can be inferred in the international arena. This was debated in
the case of Reparation for Injuries Suffered in the Service of the United Nations wherein it
was held that for achieving the purposes mentioned in the UN Charter, United Nations had to
have an international personality. So, the same can be inferred based on the powers and
functions of the organisation. Therefore, since such an organisation had an international
personality, it became a subject of international law, and thus could enforce international
claims through rights and duties. The legal personality of an organisation can also be derived
from the direct or implied intention of the members. Also, prior recognition is not relevant,
instead only the nature and functions of the organisation are relevant for the determination of
its international legal personality.

The question arises regarding the requirement of attributing a legal personality to an
international organisation. In order to avoid dealing with the member countries for the
functioning of the international organisation, it is absolutely necessary that a distinct legal
personality be accorded to the organisation. The absence of such a distinct legal personality
makes it very complicated for the recognition of claims and the enforcement of the rights
internationally. International legal personality is different from domestic legal personality. A
domestic legal personality is directly, or indirectly provided to international organisations by
their constituent instruments. This is done so in order to enable the organisation for the
purposes of contracting, acquisition of property and the institution of proceedings in the
domestic courts. The other question which arises is regarding the treatment of the
international organisation by states which are not party to the relevant treaty. It is questioned
whether the said states must recognise it or not. There are two answers to this question. This
objective can be achieved either through an agreement with the organisation or indirectly
through the rules of conflict of laws.

It should also be noted that the operation of most of these international organisations takes
place within the borders of individuals states. Hence, the need arises for their personality to
be recognised not only under international law but also under domestic law, in order to be
able to settle claims and the ability to perform legal actions. This domestic personality is
accorded in multiple ways as well. In many states, the local court determines the status of the
international organisation after referring to the appropriate law, in case of the latter is
international law. If it is evident that the organisation has a distinct personality under
international law, then this is good enough to accord a domestic legal personality status.

Other states, such as the United Kingdom, take a different approach to deal with the same
issue. The latter has adopted a dualist approach to deal with international treaties. In such
countries, for the international agreement to be applicable to the local system, it is required
that a legislation for the same must be expressly done. In simpler words, if there is no
legislative action backing the international organisation, then such an organisation would not
have its existence in the United Kingdom.

There are four methods for the recognition of the international organisation in the United
Kingdom. First, the Parliament needs to incorporate a treaty by legislation for the
establishment of such an organisation. Second, the executive of the country needs to
recognise the international organisation. Third, passing an Order under the International
Organisations Act if it so provides. Fourth, if it is recognised by the Courts using the
principle of comity that the international organisation’s personality has been recognised in
one or more countries. These are not without their problems, but the approach has its

Merely stating that an organisation has an international personality does not answer the
question as to what this personality would mean. It is a matter of debate, but it is generally
agreed that the personality’s consequences depend upon its circumstances. It also needs to be
understood that even though all international legal persons will have certain rights and duties,
not all of them will have similar capabilities. The enforcement and maintenance of these
rights and duties also depends upon the circumstances. It is an accepted fact that states have
very wide rights and duties. As opposed to them, the international organisations have
restricted powers whose scope is mentioned in the constituent instrument for the same. The
extent of the powers and capacities of the international organisations depends upon the
analysis of the organisation. This also includes the relationship of the former with that of the
purported duties of the said organisation.


As mentioned earlier, states create international organisations through formal declarations
that are laid down in their constituent instruments. The terms of the constituent instruments
decide the nature and authority of the international organisations. These instruments can be
regarded as multilateral treaties as, by nature, they are nothing but agreements that are
binding upon the parties. They occupy a special status as they also enable the creation of a

new subject area of international law. This causes some confusion at the time of
interpretation of the important documents of the international organisation. The special nature
of the constituent instruments should be considered in a manner that interprets the nature of
the organisation, its members and other parties in relation to the same. Initially, it is the
organs of the organisation that interpret the basic documents of the latter. However, in certain
cases, the instruments tend to provide for the determination of the organs using the power of
interpretation the mechanism for the resolution of these interpretation disputes. Articles 31
and 32 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 1969 govern the constituent
instruments of international organisations. This is because of the fact that the constituent
instruments are nothing but multilateral agreements. However, these agreements have a
special nature because they enable the formation of the Constitutions of the international
organisations. As a result of this, a flexible and a purpose-oriented approach needs to be
implemented for interpretation. Intentions of the framers is accorded much less importance
than normal treaties. Instead, the spotlight is upon effectiveness in accordance with the
purpose and the light of the object of the constituent instrument. Since the circumstances are
constantly changing and developing, for the purposes of interpretation, importance is given to
subsequent practice.


International organisations are usually treated differently. They are special, as opposed to
states who have an element of generality to them. In some instances, the powers of the
international organisation are provided expressly in the constituent instrument. The other type
are implied powers which arise subsequently. It was held in the Reparation case that even
though certain powers were not granted expressly to the organisation, by necessary
implication, these powers can be deemed to have been provided to the organisation. So, it is
evident that in the absence of express power, necessary intendment is also seen as the source
of certain powers. So, at one end of the spectrum we have necessary implication, while, at the
other end, we have the test of necessary intendment. It is absolutely necessary that the
inferred power needs to be consistent with an express power. The former needs to operate
within the framework of the latter. There is an element of ambiguity while dealing with this

An important question arises regarding the capacity of an international organisation to
conclude treaties. The answer to this question depends upon the constituent instrument of the
organisation. This is true because the mere existence of an international legal personality is
insufficient to provide competence to the organisation to conclude international agreements
on its own accord. However, the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties between States
and International Organisations, 1986 provides that the rules of the international organisation
govern the power to conclude treaties. In a way, it removes the dependence of the
organisation upon the constituent instrument. The rules of the organisation include
resolutions and certain decisions of the international organisation. In each and every case, the
treaty concluding capacity of an international organisation refers to the constituent instrument
as well as the rules of the organisation.


States establish international organisations through multilateral treaties which are
international in nature. Therefore, generally, the law governing these organisations is the
international law. The organisation may have concluded treaties with individual states. These
treaties are also covered within the ambit of international law. The other aspects which are
covered by international law are questions dealing with the existence of the organisation, the
constituent instruments, the status of the organisation, and issues to deal with members of the
organisation. In certain situations, domestic law may be applicable to the organisation. In
cases dealing with the purchase, lease, contractual agreements for the usage of equipment,
etc, the national law of that particular state is applicable to the organisation. Under the normal
circumstances, the tortious liability of the international organisation and the state is governed
by the domestic law of the latter. However, in some situations, the tortious liability may be
governed international law.

In some matters that deal with the establishment of the organisation’s subsidiary organs, its
functions, and employment matters, the rules of the international organisation are applicable.
The internal rules of the organisation should be seen as a specific part of international law.
This is because of the fact that the international organisation came into existence based upon
multilateral agreements that are valid under international law, and draw their application from
the principles of international law.


A new legal person is formed when an international organisation is started. The former’s
personality is separate from that of the states creating it. As a result of this separate
personality, it is highly essential that it needs to have some amount of international
responsibility. It is also owed responsibility. It is evident that for such a responsibility to
flow, when an infringement has been done by a state, the international organisation should be
able to ask the guilty state to remedy its actions. In other words, the guilty state should be
asked to provide reparations for the damage it has caused. For the sake of efficient
functioning of the international organisation, it is the latter’s right to demand that its members
fulfil their obligations towards the organisation. These rights and duties depend upon the
treaty entered into, or on the customary international law. Every circumstance can be unique,
and the exact nature of the responsibility varies on a case to case basis. But, one thing does
not change. Only a breach of an obligation causes the need for responsibility. In case of the
breach of such international obligations, the international organisation needs to have the
capacity to demand appropriate compensation, and for the sake of calculating the reparation
costs, the international organisation, more or less, includes the costs of the damage suffered
by the victim as well. There needs to be a necessary link between the organisation and the
victim. The victim should have been exercising the functions of the organisation. The victim
should have been an agent of the organisation.

This type of issue arose with the United Nations Peacekeeping forces. There were a lot of
questions raised regarding the liability of the members of these forces for their actions. In
some situations, responsibility was accepted by the United Nations for the illegal acts of the
forces. Compensation was also offered in order to offset the wrongs committed by the
members of the forces. The question in this scenario was that whether these actions of its
peacekeeping forces can be attributed to the United Nations itself or not. It was held that the
circumstances of each incident could be the only way to determine the liability of the UN or
not. In fact, the nature of the link between the offences committed by the members and the
UN needs to be observed in order to determine liability of the latter. It is thus clear that
responsibility exists for unlawful acts that are committed by the agents of the institution, the
offences need to be attributable to the organisation. The other liability that attaches to actions
of the organisations is tortious liability that arises for damages caused due to legal actions of
the organisation.

The organisation can also be held responsible for any injury caused to a third-party state. If
the organisation breaches any obligation towards the state, the general rules of state
responsibility can be invoked in such a situation. Responsibility will also have to be borne by
an organisation which assists another state or organisation to commit a wrongful act. The act
would also be seen as wrongfully committed by the organisation if the latter knew the
circumstances of the act. It then becomes the responsibility of the organisation to stop the
performance of the wrongful act and provide guarantees of non-repetition of the said act in
the future, and provide reparations for the wrongful injury. A lot depends upon the
circumstances of the wrongful injury caused.


The situation between third parties and the organisation is quite complicated. In a lot of
situations, the relationship between the members and the organisation is also complicated. In
order to understand this relationship, it is important to understand the question of a distinct
legal personality. If an international organisation does not possess a distinct legal personality,
it cannot possess rights and obligations of its own. It will be forced to depend upon its
member states for the same. So, the situation is quite different when the international
organisation possesses its own personality. It can be liable for the activities it participates in.
The general principles of international law make it clear that third party states cannot be held
liable for the actions of the organisation if they do not provide their consent for the same.
Thus, as per this principle, members of the organisation also cannot be held liable for the
actions of the organisation.

However, it has been argued by several authors that as per international law, members of an
organisation have to be jointly and severally liable for their debts. They are exempt from such
a liability only if the constituent instrument expressly excludes them from the same. This
practice is inconsistent though. Others argue that the liability of a member can be determined
through an express provision that is present within the constituent instrument, or where the
organisation acted under the direct control of a state based on the given circumstances.
Another circumstance of state liability is where the state acts with an organisation in an
illegal manner. Even in the last scenario, the state can be held liable for its actions.


Responsibility and accountability are different terms. The latter is a much broader concept
than the former. Accountability requires lawful exercise of power. With such a lawful
exercise of power, accountability permeates the political and administrative fields along with
the legal field, thus creating a regulatory and behavioural framework. The concept of good
governance becomes relevant here. The latter deals with other principles such as good faith,
constitutionality and institutional balance. Prevention of abuse of discretionary powers and
due diligence are the other objectives of the concept of good governance.


It is a known fact that a variety of privileges and immunities are granted to states and their
agents so that they can function in a much more efficient manner. In a similar manner,
international organisations are also granted the same for the protection of their assets and
agents. The immunity and privileges granted to an international organisation are different
from that of the ones enjoyed by states. This is because of the simple reason that
organisations do not have sovereign immunity, nor can they grant the same. This gives rise to
the question as to what extent are immunities granted to international organisations. Art. 105
of the UN Charter makes it clear that the organisation will only receive privileges and
immunities to the extent that the latter are required for the fulfilment of its objects. A similar
immunity is to be granted to the members who represent the United Nations.

In a lot of instances, these types of provisions are additionally bolstered by bilateral
agreements. In case of agreements such as the headquarters agreement, local laws that are
applicable in that territory are made subject to the relevant regulations of the organisation.
Immunity is usually granted to the organisation for its premises and the property from search
and seizure, including interference. It needs to be understood that immunity is granted for the
smooth functioning of the organisation, as opposed to states who are granted immunity based
on their representation. Immunity is also granted so that the organisation is free from external
interference of the host state or others.

Another question has arisen in response to the first issue. This is regarding the unilateral
withdrawal of immunity of representatives to a international organisation where the position
is unclear. The answer to this question can be seen from the headquarters agreement of the
United Nations wherein it is stated that the representatives of the international organisation
are to be granted the same privileges and immunities that are granted to diplomats. The other
answer to this question is that the privileges and immunities are granted to the organisation,

not to the individuals themselves. As long as the representatives are acting in their official
position, they have to be accorded immunity. In that regard, the immunity can only be
withdrawn by the organisation itself.

It also needs to be seen whether the immunity granted to the international organisation is
absolute in nature or not. In response to this, it is clear that the international organisations are
not states. Hence, the analogy between states and private acts and sovereign acts is
unnecessary. Also, treaties generally do not distinguish between sovereign and private acts of
the organisations. In the absence of the same, it cannot be assumed in that manner. The
immunity needs to be viewed based on its necessity for the organisation’s functions. The
property of international organisations cannot be confiscated. Even if immunity for
jurisdiction is withdrawn, immunity from execution continues. As a result, it needs to be done

Since the premises of the organisation is granted immunity from search, the local authorities
need express permission of the head of the organisation even if there has been a commission
of a crime. The country also needs to be diligent in its duty to ensure that the premises of the
international organisation is protected. But the territory remains under the jurisdiction of the
local authorities, subject to the immunity restrictions. Organisations can enjoy taxation
immunity as well for its assets. Communications that are official in nature receive the same
degree of protection that is accorded to foreign governments. In a lot of instances, agreements
dealing with the immunities and privileges are generally incorporated into a state’s local laws
by way of a separate legislation in the absence of automatic incorporation of the treaties. A
good example of this is the United Kingdom International Organisations Act, 1968.


Some of the organisations have specific provisions in the constituent instrument that deal
with the dissolution of the international organisation. Some of the organisations go for
dissolution on the basis of a voting procedure followed by the Governors. The latter need to
exercise a majority of the total voting power in order to confirm the dissolution of the
organisation. Provisions are made accordingly to deal with the issues that might crop up. One
of the foremost areas which is looked into is the payment of the claims of creditors. The latter
takes priority over the distribution of assets of the organisation. The assets will then have to
be distributed in a proportional manner to the shareholders of the organisation. In other
instances, a 2/3rd majority is required for the dissolution of the organisation with the voting

being 3/4th of the members being present and voting of the total voting power. For other
institutions, a simple majority is enough to secure the dissolution. In organisations like the
IBRD, it requires a twofold majority; majority of the member states, along with a majority of
the total votes is required to go ahead with the dissolution.

Organisations which have been established only for a limited period lie on the other end of
the spectrum. It is assumed that, in such a scenario, the constitution of the said organisation
provides for the dissolution of the organisation after the end of the period. There may not be
specific provisions that deal with the dissolution of the said organisation, but it can be
understood that the representative body of the organisation has the power to call for the
dissolution of the said organisation. A good example of this kind of dissolution is the
dissolution of the controversial League of Nations. Some would argue that the League of
Nations had gotten obsolete and devoid of any real power which led to its failure. But the
latter still had a formal dissolution process. Hence, it merits a mention. The Assembly of the
League of Nations dissolved the latter without the requirement of assent from individual
members. Keeping this as a model, subsequently, a lot of organisations adopted this process
doing away with the need to seek individual assent. Even so, the international arena poses a
lot of tricky question regarding the dissolution of international organisations. Even today,
there is no clarity as to whether the dissolution of organisations needs to be on the basis of
unanimity or whether a simple majority is good enough for the dissolution of the
organisation. Also, the requisite degree of majority is also unclear. The other tricky areas of
this dissolution include the manner in which assets are to be liquidated. Apart from the assets,
the manner in which the liabilities are to be dealt with is also a tricky question. It is not clear
whether the said questions need to be answered by the constituent instruments of the
organisation or should there be specific measures to deal with the dissolution.


Succession of international organisations can only occur if the functions and the rights &
obligations of one organisation are transferred to the other. As per Prof. Amerasinghe,
succession can occur in the following ways, “straightforward replacement, merger, effective
secession of part of an organisation, simple transfer of certain functions from one
organisation to another”. This can only be achieved through an agreement and depends on the
successor’s constitutional competence. Only if the successor organisation is competent to
discharge the functions of the former, can it perform the functions of its predecessor. If there

is no express that deals with the succession, then the same can be implied under some
scenarios. The agreement of the concerned parties is what determines the consequences that
flow from such a succession. Usually, the assets and archives of the former are transferred to
the successor organisation. It is unclear as to whether the debts of the predecessor are
transferred to the successor as well.

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