Die Veränderung innerstaatlicher Verhältnisse als Nichterfüllungsgrund von völkerrechtlichen Vertragspflichten
Welche Rolle spielen demokratiepolitische und menschenrechtliche Erwägungen?
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Internal changes of circumstances, more particularly democracy and human rights considerations, have increasingly induced states to derogate from treaty obligations or to at least threaten to do so. Based on current examples this article explores to what extent the grounds for termination or suspension in the law of treaties (subsequent impossibility of performance and fundamental change of circumstances). In addition, the grounds for non-performance under the law of state responsibility (countermeasures and necessity) may allow for a derogation from treaty obligations in such cases. The author argues that the limitations imposed upon non-performance by the law of treaties appear justified in view of the need to maintain stable treaty relations. Reliance on the grounds for non-performance under the law of state responsibility may be possible in cases of serious human rights violations. But doubts remain in light of the scarce state practice and the restrictive conditions attached to these provisions. Other options to react to subsequent changes are reliance on Article 56 VCLT (termination based on the nature of the treaty) or – ex ante – the inclusion of specific treaty provisions. In a nutshell, while generally the pacta sunt servanda rule prevails, internal changes of circumstances in the field of democracy and human rights may allow for non-performance of treaty obligations under certain limited conditions.