Treaties, States Parties and Commentaries
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Commentary of 1987 
[p.1113] Article 100 -- Notifications

3858 The designation of a depositary is a common characteristic of plurilateral or multilateral treaties. The depositary may be one or more States, an international [p.1114] organization, or the chief administrative officer of such an organization. (1) The institution and the functions of the depositary are codified in Articles 76-80 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties of 23 May 1969. (2)

3859 The depositary of the Conventions of 1949 and the Conventions preceding these was the Swiss federal Council (federal government) and therefore it was logical to designate it as the depositary for the Protocol.

3860 Apart from the functions described in this article and the articles to which it refers (84 -- ' Rules of application, ' 90 -- ' International Fact-Finding Commission, ' 92 -- ' Signature, ' 93 -- ' Ratification, ' 94 -- ' Accession, ' 95 -- ' Entry into force, ' 96 -- ' Treaty relations upon entry into force of this protocol, ' 97 -- ' Amendment, ' 99 -- ' Denunciation '), other functions are attributed to the depositary by Articles 7 ' (Meetings), ' 98 ' (Revision of Annex I), ' 101 ' (Registration) ' and 102 ' (Authentic texts). '

3861 Finally, in executing a customary function of the depositary codified by the Vienna Convention, on two occasions the depositary addressed proposals to correct the original text of the Protocol to the States Parties to the Conventions. In the absence of any objection on the part of the States concerned within the time-limit determined, the depositary finally proceeded to correct the errors as proposed.

3862 The expression "High Contracting Parties" covers States which have become Parties to the Protocol by ratification, accession or succession. (3) In accordance with Articles 92 ' (Signature), ' 93 ' (Ratification) ' and 94 ' (Accession), ' these States are [p.1115] all Parties to the Conventions. Basically it would therefore have been sufficient to mention only these in the introductory sentence.

3863 Communications by the depositary are made in the form of written notifications; only the provision of sub-paragraph (d) requires that they are made "by the quickest methods".

' Sub-paragraph ' (a)

3864 During the period that the Protocol was open for signature, the depositary notified the various signatures affixed to the Protocol. It did the same with regard to the deposit of the instruments of ratification and accession. The same should also take place in the case of succession. The notifications contained the text of declarations and reservations accompanying certain signatures, ratifications or accessions. (4)

' Sub-paragraph ' (b)

3865 The entry into force of the Protocol on 7 December 1978 in accordance with the terms of Article 95 ' (Entry into force), ' paragraph 1, was duly notified by the depositary.

' Sub-paragraph ' (c)

3866 In accordance with Article 84 ' (Rules of application), ' the Contracting Parties must communicate to one another their official translations of the Protocol, as well as any laws and regulations which they may adopt to ensure its application.

3867 In accordance with Article 90 ' (International Fact-Finding Commission), ' paragraph 2(a), the Contracting Parties may declare that they recognize ' ipso facto ' and without special agreement, in relation to any other High Contracting Party accepting the same obligation, the competence of the International fact-finding Commission to enquire into allegations by such other Party. By 31 December 1984 six States had made such a declaration at the time of ratification. (5) None did so upon signature, accession, or, as allowed by Article 90 ' (International Fact-Finding Commission), ' "at any other subsequent time".

3868 Finally, Article 97 ' (Amendment) ' deals with amendments which might be proposed to this Protocol. No amendment had been proposed under the terms of the said article as of 31 December 1984.

[p.1116] ' Sub-paragraph ' (d)

3869 This deals with the communication of declarations made by an authority representing a people engaged in a conflict of the character mentioned in Article 1 ' (General principles and scope of application), ' paragraph 4, against a High Contracting Party. Such a communication must be made by the quickest methods. This concern is understandable, since it involves the application of the Protocol in an actual conflict and human lives could be at stake.

3870 According to its own terms, the depositary will not pass judgment on the representative character of the authority by which the declaration has been made. On the other hand, it will only proceed to make a notification under this subparagraph if the State against which this authority is fighting is a Party to the Protocol. (6)

' Sub-paragraph ' (e)

3871 Any denunciation of the Protocol should be notified by the depositary in the same forms as the other acts covered by this article -- with the exception of sub-paragraph (d). However, the effect of such a denunciation might be deferred under the conditions and for the period defined by Article 99 ' (Denunciation), ' paragraph 1.

' B.Z. '

NOTES (1) [(1) p.1114] On this subject, cf., for example, J. Stoll, "Depositary", in ' Encyclopedia of Public International Law ', op. cit., Instalment 7 (1984), p. 68;

(2) [(2) p.1114] The essence can be found in Article 77 (Functions of depositaries):
"1. The functions of a depositary, unless otherwise provided in the treaty or agreed by the Contracting States, comprise in particular:
(a) keeping custody of the original text of the treaty and of any full powers delivered to the depositary;
(b) preparing certified copies of the original text and preparing any further text of the treaty in such additional languages as may be required by the treaty and transmitting them to the parties and to the States entitled to become parties to the treaty;
(c) receiving any signatures to the treaty and receiving and keeping custody of any instruments, notifications and communications relating to it;
(d) examining whether the signature or any instrument, notification or communication relating to the treaty is in due and proper form and, if need be, bringing the matter to the attention of the State in question;
(e) informing the parties and the States entitled to become parties to the treaty of acts, notifications and communications relating to the treaty;
(f) informing the States entitled to become parties to the treaty when the number of signatures or of instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession required for the entry into force of the treaty has been received or deposited;
(g) registering the treaty with the Secretariat of the United Nations;
(h) performing the functions specified in other provisions of the present Convention.
2. In the event of any difference appearing between a State and the depositary as to the performance of the latter's functions, the depositary shall bring the question to the attention of the signatory States and the contracting States or, where appropriate, of the competent organ of the international organization concerned.";

(3) [(3) p.1114] On the expression "the High Contracting Parties", cf. commentary Preamble, supra, p. 25. On ratification, accession and succession, cf. commentary Arts. 93, supra, pp. 1071-1072, and 94, supra, p. 1075;

(4) [(4) p.1115] On the question of reservations and declarations, cf. the introduction to this Part, supra, pp. 1059-1065;

(5) [(5) p.1115] For the list of these States, cf. infra, p. 1549;

(6) [(6) p.1116] ' Message du Conseil fédéral suisse aux Chambres fédérales ' of 18 February 1981, chapter 211.72;