On the legality of the U.S. withdrawal from international organizations and treaties

Oct. 29,2019
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The issues of the legality of withdrawal from international organizations or treaties can be divided into substantive legality issues and procedural legality issues. With regard to the issues of substantive legality, if the charter of an international organization or a treaty permits the withdrawal, the signatory nations have the right to withdraw; if the charter of an international organization or a treaty has no withdrawal clause, the contracting states are not allowed to withdraw in principle, but the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties provides three exceptions to that. As to the international organizations and treaties which the U.S. declared to withdraw, the U.S. certainly has the right to withdraw if it is allowed to withdraw; but if there is no opt-out clause, the U.S. cannot withdraw in principle, but the existence of exceptions makes it impossible to absolutely conclude that such withdrawal is illegal. On the issue of procedural legality, the withdrawal state shall withdraw in accordance with the prescribed procedure if the charter of an international organization or a treaty has set a opt-out clause; if there are no such clauses, the contracting states may declare its withdrawal in its own way, but the time of entry into force is controversial. Whether or not there are provisions in the charter of an international organization or a treaty, the obligations assumed by the withdrawal state prior to the entry into force of the withdrawal shall not be affected after the withdrawal.

Corresponding Author: WU Libin
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CNKI Press Officer: ZHONG Ming
Email: zm6946@cnki.net

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