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Reservations to the Convention on Genocide.

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    Bloomberg Law

    Citation. I.C.J., Advisory Opinion, 1951 I.C.J. 15.

    Brief Fact Summary. Reservations to various provisions to the U.N. Conventions on Genocide were effected by several signatories’ states to it.


    Synopsis of Rule of Law. A reservation to the U.N. Convention on Genocide may be effected by a state and still be considered a signatory thereto.


    Facts. The convention on Genocide was unanimously adopted by the United Nations in 1951. Several states made reservations to one or more of its provisions. An opinion as to whether a party could express reservations and still be considered a signatory was laid before the International Court of Justice.


    Issue. May a reservation to the U.N. Convention on Genocide be made by a state and still be considered a signatory thereto?


    Held. Yes. A reservation to the U.N. Convention on Genocide may be effected by a state and still be considered a signatory thereto. In a multilateral treaty, as long as the reservation does not defeat the purpose of the treaty, a reservation is permitted. By virtue of its sovereignty, it has been argued that a state may effect any reservation. In this case, the validity of each reservation must be examined on a case-by-case basis since numerous reservations were made by different states. (The court held that the state objecting to a reservation could if it desired, consider the reserving state not to be a party to the Convention.


    Discussion. Politics was at play in this case as it has also been in other cases. Going by precedence, international law usually held that reservations to a multilateral treaty had to be accepted by all other parties. Unanimous acceptance of the Convention would not have made the Convention possible if the rule was followed. The Court was undoubtedly determined to facilitate such unanimity



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