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Limited Publication Policy

Limited Publication Policy-Note by the Secretariat

Note by the Secretariat

1. Under Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations every treaty and every international agreement entered into by a Member of the United Nations after the coming into force of the Charter must be registered with the Secretariat and published by it. The General Assembly, by Resolution 97(1) of 14 December 1946, adopted Regulations to give effect to Article 102 of the Charter. These Regulations were last amended on 15 December 1997 (the Regulations).

2. Under Article 1 of the Regulations, parties to a treaty or an international agreement are required to affect the registration after the treaty or international agreement has entered into force. Under Article 4 of the Regulations, the United Nations is required to register ex officio every treaty or international agreement where the United Nations:

(a) is a party to the treaty or agreement,

(b) has been authorized by the treaty or agreement to effect registration, or

(c) is the depositary of a multilateral treaty or agreement.

Article 4 paragraph 2 of the Regulations also provides that specialised agencies may register treaties in specific cases:

(a) where the constituent instrument of the specialised agency provides for such registration,

(b) where the treaty or agreement has been registered with the specialised agency pursuant to the terms of its constituent instrument, or

(c) where the specialised agency has been authorized by the treaty or agreement to effect registration.

Under Article 10 of the Regulations, the filing and recording of certain categories of treaties and international agreements other than those subject to registration under Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations may be required. The Secretariat of the United Nations is designated in Article 102 as the organ with which registration or filing and recording is effected.

3. The obligation to register falls upon the Member State. The purpose of Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations is to avoid secret diplomacy by ensuring the publication of all treaties and international agreements. Paragraph 2 of Article 102 provides a sanction for failure to discharge the obligation to register under paragraph 1. The sanction provides that no party to a treaty or an international agreement which has not been registered, may invoke that treaty or agreement before any organ of the United Nations.

4. The Statement of Treaties and International Agreements (the Monthly Statement) is a publication produced monthly by the Treaty Section, Office of Legal Affairs of the Secretariat pursuant to Article 13 of the Regulations. It records all treaties and treaty actions which were registered in the previous month.

5. Part I of the Monthly Statement contains a statement of treaties and international agreements registered in accordance with Article 1 of the Regulations. Part II of the Monthly Statement contains a statement of treaties and international agreements filed and recorded in accordance with Article 10 of the Regulations. With regard to each treaty or international agreement registered or filed or recorded the following information is provided: (i) names of parties, (ii) registration or recording number, (iii) title, (iv) date of conclusion, (v) date and method of entry into force, (vi) languages in which is was concluded, (vii) name of the authority which initiated the formality of registration or filing and recording and (viii) the date of that formality.

6. The Annexes to the Monthly Statement contain subsequent actions concerning treaties and international agreements previously registered or filed and recorded with the Secretariat of the United Nations or with the Secretariat of the League of Nations. These actions may be in the form of supplementary agreements, agreements which amend or modify previously registered agreements, or certified statements. Certified statements are composed of data only, such as ratifications, accessions, etc.

7. When treaties and international agreements are submitted for the purpose of registration or filing and recording, they are first examined by legal officers within the Secretariat in order to ascertain (i) whether they fall within the category of agreements requiring registration or are subject to filing and recording, and (ii) whether the technical requirements of the Regulations are met. It is noted that an authoritative body of practice relating to registration has been developed since the origin of the League of Nations. In some cases, the Secretariat may find it necessary to consult with the registering party concerning the question of registrability. However, since the terms "treaty" and "international agreement" have not been defined in the Charter of the United Nations or in the Regulations, the Secretariat broadly interprets the principle and respects the position of the Member State submitting an instrument for registration in so far as that party is concerned the instrument is a treaty or an international agreement within the meaning of Article 102.

8. Registration of an instrument submitted by a Member State does not imply a judgement by the Secretariat on the nature of the instrument, the status of a party, or any similar question.It is the understanding of the Secretariat that its action does not confer on the instrument the status of a treaty or an international agreement if it does not already have that status and does not confer on a party a status which it would not otherwise have.

9. When a treaty or international agreement is registered or filed and recorded ex officio it is the Secretariats responsibility to initiate the act of registration.

Publication of treaties and international agreements

10.Under Article 12 of the Regulations, treaties and international agreements registered or filed and recorded are published in the United Nations Treaty Series (UNTS) in their original language or languages, together with a translation in English and French, as necessary. By its Resolution A/RES/33/141 of 19 December 1978 amending Article 12 of the Regulations, the General Assembly gave the Secretariat the option not to publish in extenso certain categories of bilateral treaties or international agreements belonging to one of the following categories, (Article 12 paragraph 2):

(a) Assistance and cooperation agreements of limited scope concerning financial, commercial, administrative or technical matters;

(b) Agreements relating to the organisation of conferences, seminars or meetings;

(c) Agreements that are to be published otherwise than in the UNTS by the United Nations Secretariat or by a specialised or related agency.

11. By its Resolution A/RES/52/153 of 15 December 1997, the General Assembly further amended Article 12 of the Regulations and extended the option not to publish in extenso to multilateral treaties falling within the same categories.

12. In accordance with Article 12 paragraph 3 of the Regulations, the treaties and international agreements that the Secretariat does not intend to publish in extenso are identified in the Monthly Statement by an asterisk preceding the title of the agreement.

FEATURED EVENT
2013 TREATY EVENT: TOWARDS UNIVERSAL PARTICIPATION AND IMPLEMENTATION
(24-26 September and 30 September-1 October 2013, United Nations Headquarters in New York, North Lawn Building, Room 1034)