State responsibility

State Responsibility

State responsibility

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The laws of state responsibility are the principles governing when and how a state is held responsible for a breach of an international obligation. Rather than set forth any particular obligations, the rules of state responsibility determine, in general, when an obligation has been breached and the legal consequences of that violation. In this way they are "secondary" rules that address basic issues of responsibility and remedies available for breach of "primary" or substantive rules of international law, such as with respect to the use of armed force. Because of this generality, the rules can be studied independently of the primary rules of obligation. They establish (1) the conditions for an act to qualify as internationally wrongful, (2) the circumstances under which actions of officials, private individuals and other entities may be attributed to the state, (3) general defences to liability and (4) the consequences of liability.

Until recently, the theory of the law of state responsibility was not well developed. The position has now changed, with the adoption of the Draft Articles on the Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts ("Draft Articles") by the International Law Commission (ILC) in August 2001. The Draft Articles are a combination of codification and progressive development. They have already been cited by the International Court of JusticeThe ICJ cited an earlier draft text of...
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