PROMISE IN INTERNATIONAL LAW: A CONFIRMATION OF ITS BINDING FORCE

in The Italian Yearbook of International Law Online
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References

1 I.CJ. Reports (1974), pp. 457 ff. 2 LC.T. Reports cit., pp. 494 ff. 3 I.C.J. Reports cit., P. 472,

4 Extremely significant in this respect is the view of those authors who concede in principle the binding force of promise while denying it at the presents stage of the develop- ment of international law; e.g., among Italian writers, ZICCARDI, La Costituzione dell'ordi- namento internationale, Milano, 1943, espec. pp. 418-19; BISCOTTINI, Contributo alla teoria degli atti unilaterali nel diritto iiitertiazionale, Milano, 1951, pp. 158 ff.; CANSACCHI, Istitu- zioni di diritto internazioraale pubblico, 5th ed., Torino, 1963, p. 216. 5 This point is more widely dealt with in the present writer's Promessa e af fidanzento nel diritto internazionale, Milano, 1967, pp. m ff., 31 ff. 6 In this sense see esp. the arguments put forward by Bosco, " II fondamento giuridico del valore obbligatorio del diritto internazionale ", Rivista di Diritto pubblico (1938), pp. 626 ff. This author is indebted to some general theories on law-making previously developed by SALVIOLI, "II riconoscimento degli Stati ", Rivista (1926), pp. 331 ff. at pp. 356-58, and DUGUIT, Etudes de droit public, I, Paris, 1901, esp. pp. 373 and 409. 7 Among those more recent writers who pay attention to the binding force of promise, VENTURINI, " La portee et les effets juridiques des attitudes et des actes unilat6raux des Etats ", Hague Recueil (1964-11) pp. 367 ff.; SUY, Les actes juridiques unilatéraux en droit international public, Paris, 1962, pp. 113 ff.; DE NOVA, " Considerazioni sulla neutrality permanente dell'Austria ", CS, VIII, 1956, 1 ff. at pp. 7 ff.; VERDROSS, Välkerrecht, 5th ed., Wien, 1959, pp. 157 ff.; BERBER, Lehrbuch des Volkerrechts, I, Munchen-Berlin, y6o,

pp. 408 ff.; RoussEAU, Droit international public, I, Paris, 1970, pp. 422 ff. For further references along the same line of thought, see the present writer's La promesso. etc. cit., esp. p. 14, footnote 8. 8 Recently SERENI, Diritto internazionale, III, Milano, 1962, pp. 1350 ff.; QUADRI, "La promessa nel diritto internazionale", DI (1964), pp. 91 ff.; ID., Diritto internaxionale pubblico, 5th ed., Napoli, 1968, pp. 569 ff. 9 Especially relevant to the subject Quadri, La promessa etc. cit., at p. 97. lo Reference may be made on this point to the present writer's Promessa etc. cit., esp. 161 ff. See, however, the objections raised by CAPOTORTI in reviewing that study: CI (1968) esp. p. 805. According to the distinguished author, precisely from arguments developed there, it would appear preferable to refer - rather than to unilateral promise - to " a multi-phase legal situation to which the expression of intention is relevant merely as a condition; legal effects ensue only from a subsequent situation of fact, on the occurrence of which they finally depend ".

11 I.C.J. Reports cir., esp. par. 51, p. 474. 12 I.C.J. Reports cit., esp. par. 49, p. 473. 13 See on this point the cases referred to in the present writer's Promessa cit., pp. 133- 36, with special regard to the indications to be drawn from both the verification of the binding force of the unilateral declarations on minorities made by certain States within the framework of the League of Nations system and the Mavrommatis case (P.C.I.J., Series A, No. 5). The latter, in particular, is relevant to the present discussion for its analogies with the case submitted to the Court in connection with the dispute under consideration.

'9 In this sense see esp. DE NOVA, " Considerazioni " cit., at p. 11; Suy, Les actes cit., p. 150; VENTURING, " La portee " cit., at p. 402 and, most recently, ROUSSEAU, Droit international cit. at p. q.z4. 15 Cf., for all., DE NOVA, " Considerazioni " cit., at p. 11. '6 This solution is generally accepted by doctrine; references in the present author's Promessa cit. at pp. 142 ff. '7 Already in support of this view, for all, Suy, Les actes cit. at p. 150, who recalls on this point the general principle of freedom as to form of international acts obtained., on the basis of a long-established practice, in international relations.

18 As already noted by PFLUGER, Die einseitige Rechtgeschdfte in Volkerrecht, Freiburg, 1936, at p. 57, this rule applies to all unilateral acts. '9 Arguments in support of this view already in CANSACCHI, " La notificazione " cit., pp. 129-130. z° Suy, Les actes cit., pp. 150-51, and VENTURINI, " La portee " cit., pp. 402-03. 21 WENGLER, Volkerrecht, I, Berlin-G6ttingen-Heidelberg, 1964, p. 308. zz For a more ample discussion on this topic, the present writer's Promessa, cit. at pp. 178 ff. 23 I.C.J. Reports cit., par. 53, at p. 475.

24 The objection raised by QUADRT (" La promessa " cit., p. 97) against Wengler's view was, at least in part, well-founded when he stressed that in this way a promissory commit- ment would be transformed into a " si voluero " committment: revocation could in fact result, even tacitly, from a conduct at variance with the promised one. zs For a comprehensive and detailed description of the rules in force (and of solutions adopted in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties), for all, CAPOTORTI, " L'ex- tinction et la suspension des traites ", Hague Recueil (1971-III), pp. q.i9 ff. at pp. 478 ff. and 537 ff. zs For a number of remarks to be taken into consideration in this respect, CONFORTI, La f unzione dell'accordo nel sistesrea delle Nazioni Unite, Padova, 1968, p. 138, esp. foot- note where, in contrast with statements put forward in the text, the inexistence of an established practice on limitations to the power of revoking promise is deemed to confirm the latter's lack of binding force. This argument, indeed, does not seem wholly convincing. The fact that, on certain specific aspects of promise, State practice is not firmly established does not necessarily mean that promise is not relevant in law. So much so that even the regulation of revocation and denunciation lack in precision even as far as concern definitely binding commitments (such as those derived from international agreements). 27 I.C.J. Reports cit., at pp. 503 ff.

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