Holding Signatories to Account: Applying interim obligations under Article 18 of the VCLT to states in the process of ratifying the Rome Statute.

PluriCourts Lunch Seminar with Emma Brandon.


Without its own police force, the International Criminal Court (ICC) relies on states to facilitate its investigations and ensure enforcement of its decisions. At the same time, 31 states, including the United States and Sudan, have signed but not ratified the Rome Statute that established the ICC and, therefore, their exact set of legal obligations to assist the tribunal is unclear. Article 18 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT) provides a potential source for this set of obligations. It obligates states who have signed a treaty to “refrain from acts which would defeat the object and purpose of [the] treaty.” This paper analyzes the obligation under Article 18 of the VCLT and applies it to states who have signed but not ratified the Rome Statute. This clarification of the obligation allows the Court and advocates to uniformly and efficaciously enforce the obligation and ensure states' vital cooperation with the Court.


PluriCourt Seminars are a forum for pluridisciplinary discussion of core issues relating to international courts and tribunals. PluriCourts scholars or invited speakers present new and ongoing research or comment on current questions. The seminars are open to everyone.

Tags: Criminal law
Published Feb. 7, 2019 8:33 AM - Last modified May 9, 2019 2:55 PM