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Classifications of Objections Based on the Legal Assessment of a Reservation by Objecting States

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Current doctrine assumes that the “Vienna regime” delinked objections from the criterion of object and purpose (op) compatibility of reservations. Shifting the focus from reservations to objections, this article finds implicit continuity between the Genocide Advisory Opinion and the Vienna regime: in both cases the op criterion enables a distinction between objections on the grounds of incompatibility of reservations (op objections) and all others. Embracing this distinction, a new theoretical interpretation of the Vienna regime safeguards against the adverse effects of objections, namely a “reinforced two-tier test” is suggested, whereby any reservation may be subject to an assessment of opposability (non-op objections) and a double assessment of permissibility. Adopting a functional approach, the article suggests a classification of international obligations based on the applicability of the Vienna regime’s various safeguard mechanisms, locating the roles of objections to reservations to human rights treaties in context.

Affiliations: 1: Graduate School of International Studies, Seoul National UniversityRepublic of Korea


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