6 According to Article 32 CAT, the Secretary-General has a duty to inform all member States of the United Nations and all States which have signed or acceded to the Convention. Since the Convention, pursuant to Articles 25 and 26, is open to signature and accession by all States,7 non-member States of the United Nations may also sign, ratify, or accede to the Convention, and have the right to be informed accordingly. However, the Secretary-General has no obligation to inform all States; only all UN member States and those non-member States which have signed or acceded to the Convention. In the case of the dismemberment of a State party which is not a UN member State, the Secretary-General shall also inform the respective States that became party by a notification of succession.8 So far, only UN member States (with the exception of Switzerland at the time of signature (p. 697) and notification) have signed, ratified, succeeded, or acceded to the Convention, which means that the Secretary-General shall simply inform all UN member States.
7 Article 32 CAT requires the Secretary-General to inform the respective States of all signatures, ratifications, accessions, and denunciations, as well as of the dates of entry into force of the Convention and any amendments thereto. Considering that the only amendment adopted so far by States parties under Article 29 has not yet entered into force,9 no information requirement has arisen under this provision. Although neither Article 26 nor Article 32(a) explicitly refers to succession, UN member States shall also be informed of any notifications of succession.
8 In practice, the Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) treaty section in New York maintains a website10 with all signatures, ratifications, accessions, denunciations, and dates of entry into force of the Convention or any amendments to the Convention. A reference to the website is included in the Committee’s annual report as well as in the depository notifications by the treaty section of the Office of the Legal Affairs sent to the member States via email.
9 Some comparable provisions in other UN human rights treaties also require the Secretary-General to inform States of optional declarations recognizing the competence of the respective treaty bodies to receive and consider inter-State or individual communications, reservations, and requests by States parties for an amendment of the respective treaties.11 Since the Secretary-General functions as the depositary of UN treaties,12 it would have been useful to require him or her also to inform all States of all optional declarations under Articles 21(1) and 22(1) CAT; all reservations to the Convention; and, above all, the explicit opting-out reservations and notifications of withdrawals of such reservations in accordance with Articles 28 and 30 CAT, as well as of all proposals for an amendment of the Convention in accordance with Article 29(1) CAT. In practice, the Secretary-General, however, does inform all States of the notifications of States parties by making use of the website.13