Revolutions and Treaty Termination

01 Jan 1984

It is a widely accepted principle of international law that ordinary changes in government do not affect treaty obligations. During the course of the twentieth century, however, certain states and some writers have asserted that revolutionary changes in government do affect treaty obligations. Nevertheless, many states continue to adhere to the rigid rule that treaty obligations should not be affected even by radical changes in government. This rule can create anomalous and unreasonable results. Accordingly, it may be better to replace the present blanket rule with a flexible test that encompasses all relevant factors and provides a result in accordance with reasonable expectations. Such a test will be more likely to earn the sort of respect and support among nations upon which effective international law depends.