Given the common wisdom that the subject of treaty reservations is among the most complicated in treaty law,1 the relevant law defies easy summary; indeed, a chapter-length treatment can only discuss the most prominent issues and note others of a more incidental character. That said, it is easy enough to provide an orientation in the basic rules of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT). The subject is mostly uncontroversial. While reservations, by definition, seek unilaterally to compromise a State’s treaty obligations,2 States are nonetheless...
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