Identities of States in International Organizations

In: International Organizations Law Review

In academic debates on the responsibility of international organizations and their member States the different identities of States play a crucial role. However, apart from the difficulty to clearly separate ‘State’ and ‘member State’ identities, it is even more complex to distinguish between the different roles ‘member States’ may have in the framework of international organizations. As a general introduction to this special forum, this essay aims to clarify the different identities and roles States may have in relation to international organizations, especially in the context of the responsibility of international organizations. As the subsequent contributions reveal, the law on the international responsibility of international organizations takes account of the possible responsibility of their members. By mapping the different identities States may have in different settings, this contribution argues that such differentiations may be crucial for the further development of adequate international rules on the responsibility of international organizations and their members.

  • 11

    Wouters and De Mansupra note 8 at p. 205 have argued that in these cases international organizations “merely act as agents since they only propose draft conventions through gathering information and offering their expertise which then may or may not be entered into by the member States”.

  • 15

    Wouters and De Mansupra note 9 pp. 207–208. Once consensus has been reached within an international organization it will be difficult for States to deny their acceptance of a norm and to be recognised as a ‘persistent objector’.

  • 17

    Collins and Whitesupra note 8.

  • 19

    Schermers and Blokkersupra note 16 p. 293.

  • 20

    Jan Klabbers‘Two Concepts of International Organization’, and ‘Contending Approaches to International Organizations’supra note 10.

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  • 29

     Cf. Schermers and Blokkersupra note 16 p. 37.

  • 38

    Schermers and Blokkersupra note 16 p. 118. As these authors rightly mention Art. 3 of the un Charter makes this duty explicit.

  • 42

    Barros and Ryngaertsupra note 39; cf. also Jan Klabbers ‘Autonomy Constitutionalism and Virtue in International Institutional Law’ in R. Collins and N. White (eds.) supra note 8 p. 121: “there is always an element of artificiality in making a distinction between organizations and their members”. See also Niels Blokker ‘International Organizations and their Members’ (2004) 1 International Organizations Law Review pp. 139–161.

  • 53

     Cf. Schermers and Blokkersupra note 16 pp. 822–832; Amerasinghe supra note 47 pp. 172–175; Nigel D. White The Law of International Organizations (2nd ed.) (Manchester up Manchester 2005) pp. 161–168.

  • 62

    Klabberssupra note 22 p. 229.

  • 74

    Since 1945the Court has delivered a total of 26 advisory opinions of which 11 were delivered in the first 15 years.

  • 75

    Klabberssupra note 20 p. 186.

  • 77

    Barros and Ryngaertsupra note 39. Cf also Jan Klabbers ‘Autonomy Constitutionalism and Virtue in International Institutional Law’ in R. Collins and N. White (eds.) supra note 8 p. 121: “there is always an element of artificiality in making a distinction between organizations and their members”.

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