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United Nations General Assembly Resolution 97 (I) Registration and Publication of Treaties and International Agreements: Regulations to Give Effects to Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations, 14th December 1946 (UN Doc A/RES/97(I)), OXIO 79

United Nations General Assembly [UNGA]

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2015. All Rights Reserved.date: 18 August 2019

Subject(s):
International organizations, practice and procedure — Depositaries and registrations

Core Issues

1. How Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations would be implemented

This headnote pertains to: United Nations General Assembly Resolution 97 (I) Registration and Publication of Treaties and International Agreements: Regulations to Give Effects to Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations, an act of an international organization. Jump to full text

Background

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 97 (I) Registration and Publication of Treaties and International Agreements: Regulations to Give Effects to Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations (‘Regulations’) represents one of the first legal instruments adopted to operationalize the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations (‘Charter’). The United Nations (UN) General Assembly (GA) sought through this instrument to clarify the scope and effect of the obligation contained in Article 102 of the Charter—that every treaty and every international agreement entered into by any Member State, after the Charter comes into force, shall as soon as possible be registered with the UN Secretariat and published by it.

The origins of Article 102 of the Charter can be traced to the end of the First World War and President Woodrow Wilson’s ‘14 points’ speech to the United States Congress on 8 January 1918, in which he called for ‘open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings’. This emphasis on transparent treaty-making as a key pillar of post-war international relations was reflected in Article 18 of the Covenant of the League of Nations (‘Covenant’) under which members were obliged to register every treaty or international agreement they entered into after the entry into force of the Covenant. Following the dissolution of the League of Nations and the entry into force of the Charter in 1946, the principle of universal registration and publication was preserved and developed in its Article 102.

At its first session, the GA recognized that additional steps were needed in order to give effect to Article 102 of the Charter and instructed the Secretary-General to circulate draft regulations in this regard. Following detailed consideration by its Sixth Committee, the Regulations were adopted by the GA on 14 December 1946.

Summary

Under Article 1 (1) of the Regulations, the GA refrained from significantly expanding the definition of ‘treaty or international agreement’, adding only that every such instrument shall be registered ‘whatever its form and descriptive name’. The Regulations further clarify that only treaties that have entered into force for at least two parties may be registered, and extend the obligation to register to encompass all subsequent actions effecting changes in registered treaties, such as accessions or withdrawals. [Arts 1(2), 2]

Under Article 4, registration must be undertaken ex officio by the UN where it is a party to a treaty, is the depositary, or is specifically authorized by the treaty to do so. [Art 4] Registration by one party to an agreement, or by the depositary, relieves all other parties of the obligation to register. [Art 3]

The Regulations also outline the specific functions to be exercised by the UN Secretariat in the registration process. The Secretariat must establish a register in which it will record information on each registered treaty and international agreement including—in accordance with Article 5 of the Regulations—the registration number, title, parties, and dates of conclusion and entry into force. [Art 1(4)] The Secretariat is also required to issue a certificate of registration to the submitter, and produce a monthly statement of registered treaties. [Arts 7, 13]

A separate regime of filing and recording is established for instruments constituting treaties and international agreements but which do not fall within the scope of Article 102 of the Charter. [Art 10] As regards the publication of treaties, Article 12 of the Regulations outlines the procedure to be followed by the Secretariat and extends the publication regime to treaties that have been filed and recorded.

Analysis

In exercising its functions under the Regulations, the Secretariat has developed an authoritative body of practice regarding their interpretation and application, as detailed in the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs (1945–1954).

Issues addressed by the Secretariat include the scope of the terms ‘treaty or international agreement’ and ‘entered into force’, the status of agreements between states and governments of dependent territories, the status of instruments adopted with the framework of international organizations, the treaty-making capacity of international organizations, and the range of instruments eligible for filing and recording under Article 10 of the Regulations.

In registering an instrument, the Secretariat is clear that it does not pass any authoritative judgement on its status, and therefore registration does not confer on it any status it does not already have.

Impact

For seventy-five years the Regulations have served as a crucial guide for the practice of states, international organizations, and the Secretariat under Article 102 of the Charter, with many of their elements—and the related practice of the Secretariat—later reflected in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969) (1155 UNTS 331) and the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties between States and International Organizations or between International Organizations (1986) (UN Doc A/CONF.129/15).

In that time, over 67,000 treaties have been registered and over 2,700 volumes of the UN Treaty Series have been published, information on which is now made available almost instantly on the UN Treaty Collection [https://treaties.un.org/] website. Encouragingly, the rate of registration has increased, with an average of 250 treaties and treaty actions now registered each month.

The GA has also sought to adapt the Regulations to modern treaty-making practice, adopting amendments to, inter alia, extend the registration obligation to the Secretary-General of the United Nations in his capacity as depositary of multilateral treaties (see United Nations General Assembly Resolution 364(IV)), and introduce limited exceptions to the publication requirement under Article 12 of the Regulations (see United Nations General Assembly Resolution 33/141).

The Regulations have not, however, led to universal compliance. While a comprehensive analysis of state adherence to Article 102 of the Charter is yet to be realized, previous estimates have indicated that a significant percentage of existing treaties remain unregistered. Such statistics may be linked to the lack of legal consequences for states that fail to adhere to Article 102 of the Charter. The International Court of Justice, as exemplified in Maritime Delimitation and Territorial Questions between Qatar and Bahrain (paras 120–122), has shown that the sanction under Article 102 (2) of the Charter—namely that non-registered treaties may not be invoked before any UN organ—will in practice be interpreted with great flexibility

This ‘registration gap’ may also indicate a need to update the Regulations to reflect changes in treaty-making practice and harness technological developments. An opportunity arises in this regard through United Nations General Assembly Resolution 70/118, by which the GA invited the Secretary-General to review the Regulations, taking into account recent developments. The result of that review will be presented to the GA at its seventy-first session in 2016.

Further Analysis and Relevant Materials

Reporter(s): Jonathon Agar

Source text

Original Source PDF

97 (I).  Registration and Publication of Treaties and International Agreements: Regulations to give effect to Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations

The General Assembly,

Considering it desirable to establish rules for the application of Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations which provides as follows:

"1. Every treaty and every international agreement entered into by any Member of the United Nations after the present Charter comes into force shall as soon as possible be registered with the Secretariat and published by it.

"2. No party to any such treaty or international agreement which has not been registered in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1 of this Article may invoke that treaty or agreement before any organ of the United Nations."

Recognizing, in making provision therefor, the importance of orderly registration and publication of such treaties and international agreements and the maintenance of precise records;

Adopts accordingly, having given consideration to the proposals of the Secretary-General1 submitted pursuant to the resolution of the General Assembly of 10 February 1946, the following regulations:

Part One  Registration

Article 1

1.  Every treaty or international agreement, whatever its form and descriptive name, entered into by one or more Members of the United Nations after 24 October 1945, the date of the coming into force of the Charter, shall as soon as possible be registered with the Secretariat in accordance with these regulations.

2.  Registration shall not take place until the treaty or international agreement has come into force between two or more of the parties thereto.

3.  Such registration may be effected by any party or in accordance with article 4 of these-regulations.

4.  The Secretariat shall record the treaties and international agreements so registered in a Register established for that purpose.

Article 2

1.  When a treaty or international agreement has been registered with the Secretariat, a certified statement regarding any subsequent action which effects a change in the parties thereto, or the terms, scope or application thereof, shall also be registered with the Secretariat.

2.  The Secretariat shall record the certified statement so registered in the Register established under article 1 of these regulations.

Article 3

1.  Registration by a party, in accordance with article 1 of these regulations, relieves all other parties of the obligation to register.

2.  Registration effected in accordance with article 4 of these regulations relieves all parties of the obligation to register.

Article 4

1.  Every treaty or international agreement subject to article 1 of these regulations shall be registered ex officio by the United Nations in the following cases:

  1. (a)  Where the United Nations is a party to the treaty or agreement;

  2. (b)  Where the United Nations nas been authorized by the treaty or agreement to effect registration.

2.  A treaty or international agreement subject to article 1 of these regulations may be registered with the Secretariat by a specialized agency in the following cases:

  1. (a)  Where the constituent instrument of the specialized agency provides for such registration;

  2. (b)  Where the treaty or agreement has been registered with the specialized agency pursuant to the terms of its constituent instrument;

  3. (c)  Where the specialized agency has been authorized by the treaty or agreement to effect registration.

Article 5

1.  A party or specialized agency, registering a treaty or international agreement under article 1 or 4 of these regulations, shall certify that the text is a true and complete copy thereof and includes all reservations made by parties thereto.

2.  The certified copy shall reproduce the text in all the languages in which the treaty or agreement was concluded and shall be accompanied by two additional copies and by a statement setting forth, in respect of each party:

  1. (a)  The date on which the treaty or agreement has come into force;

  2. (b)  The method whereby it has come into force (for example: by signature, by ratification or acceptance, by accession, et cetera).

Article 6

The date of receipt by the Secretariat of the United Nations of the treaty or international agreement registered shall be deemed to be the date of registration, provided that the date of registration of a treaty or agreement registered ex officio by the United Nations shall be the date on which the treaty or agreement first came into force between two or more of the parties thereto.

Article 7

A certificate of registration signed by the Secretary-General or his representative shall be issued to the registering party or agency and also to all signatories and parties to the treaty or international agreement registered.

Article 8

1.  The Register shall be kept in the five official languages of the United Nations. The Register shall comprise, in respect of each treaty or international agreement, a record of:

  1. (a)  The serial number given in the order of registration;

  2. (6)  The title given to the instrument by the parties;

  3. (c)  The names of the parties between whom it was concluded;

  4. (d)  The dates of signature, ratification or acceptance, exchange of ratification, accession, and entry into force;

  5. (e)  The duration;

  6. (f)  The language or languages in which st was drawn up;

  7. (g)  The name of the party or specialized agency which registers the instrument and the date of such registration;

  8. (h)  Particulars of publication in the treaty series of the United Nations.

2.  Such information shall also be included in the Register in regard to the statements registered under article 2 of these regulations.

3.  The texts registered shall be marked "ne varietur" by the Secretary-General or his representative, and shall remain in the custody of the Secretariat.

Article 9

The Secretary-General, or his representative, shall issue certified extracts from the Register at the request of any Member of the United Nations or any party to the treaty or international agreement concerned. In other cases he may issue such extracts at his discretion.

Part Two  Filing and Recording

Article 10

The Secretariat shall file and record treaties and international agreements, other than those subject to registration under article 1 of these regulations, if they fall in the following categories:

  1. (a)  Treaties or international agreements entered into by the United Nations or by one or more of the specialized agencies;

  2. (b)  Treaties or international agreements transmitted by a Member of the United Nations which were entered into before the coming into force of the Charter, but which were not included in the treaty series of the League of Nations;

  3. (c)  Treaties or international agreements transmitted by a party not a member of the: United Nations which were entered into before or after the coming into force of the Charter which were not included in the treaty series of the League of Nations, provided, however, that this paragraph shall be applied with full regard to the provisions of the resolution of the General Assembly of 10 February 1946 set forth in the Annex to these regulations.

Article 11

  • The provisions of articles 2, 5, and 8 of these regulations shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to all treaties and international agreements filed and recorded under article 10 of these regulations.

Part Three  Publication

Article 12

1.  The Secretariat shall publish as soon as possible in a single series every treaty or international agreement which is registered, or filed and recorded, in the original language or languages, followed by a translation in English and in French. The certified statements referred to in article 2 of these regulations shall be published in the same manner.

2.  The Secretariat shall, when publishing a treaty or agreement under paragraph 1 of this article, include the following information: the serial number in order of registration or recording; the date of registration or recording; the name of the party or specialized agency which registered it or transmitted it for filing; and in respect of each party the date on which it has come into force and the method whereby it has come into force.

Article 13

The Secretariat shall pub'ish every month a statement of the treaties and international agreements registered, or filed and recorded, during the preceding month, giving the dates and numbers of registration and recording.

Article 14

The Secretariat shall send to all Members of the United Nations the series referred to in article 12 and the monthly statement referred to in article 13 of these regulations.

Sixty-fifth plenary meeting,

14 December 1946.

Annex  Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 10 February 1946 on Registration of Treaties and International Agreements

The Executive Secretary sent a circular letter to the Members of the United Nations on 8 November 1945 informing them that from the date of the entry into force of the Charter, treaties and international agreements would be received and filed on a provisional basis until the adoption of detailed regulations prescribing the procedure to be followed in the registration and publication of treaties and international agreements under the provisions of Article 102 of the Charter. The Executive Secretary also invited the Governments of Members to transmit to the Secretariat for filing and publication, treaties and international agreements not included in the treaty series of the League of Nations and entered into in recent years before the date of the entry into force of the Charter.

It is desirable, as a matter of practical convenience, that arrangements should be made for the publication of any treaties or international agreements which non-member States may voluntarily transmit and which have not been included in the treaty series of the League of Nations. These arrangements should not, however, extend to treaties or international agreements transmitted by any non-member State such as Spain, the Government of which has been founded with the support of the Axis Powers and does not, in view of its origin, its nature, its record and its close association with the aggressor States, possess qualifications necessary to justify membership in the United Nations under the provisions of the Charter.

Therefore, the General Assembly instructs the Secretary-General:

  1. 1.  To submit to the General Assembly proposals for detailed regulations and other measures designed to give effect to the provisions of Article 102 of the Charter;

  2. 2.  To invite the Governments of Members of the United Nations to transmit to the Secretary-General for filing and publication, treaties and international agreements entered into in recent years, but before the date of entry into force of the Charter, which had not been included in the League of Nations treaty series, and to transmit for registration and publication, treaties and international agreements entered into after the date of entry into force of the Charter;

  3. 3.  To receive, from the Governments of non-member States, treaties and international agreements entered into both before and after the date of entry into force of the Charter, which have not been included in the League of Nations treaty series and which they may voluntarily transmit for filing and publication; and to dispose of them in accordance with the foregoing provisions, and subject to such detailed regulations and other measures as may hereafter be adopted.

98 (I).  Interim Arrangement on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations concluded with the Swiss Federal Council, and Agreement concerning the Ariana Site

The General Assembly,

Has taken note with satisfaction of the report1 by the Secretary-General on the negotiations with the Swiss Federal Council;

Considers that the documents set out in that report, including the letter of 22 October 1946 from the Head of the Swiss Federal Political Department relating to the use of the United Nations buildings in Geneva, constitute a satisfactory basis for the activities of the United Nations in Switzerland;

Approves, therefore, the arrangements concluded with the Swiss Federal Council.

Sixty-fifth plenary meeting,

14 December 1946.

Footnotes:

1  Document A/138.

1  Document A/175.