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THE LEGAL REGIME OF WRECKS OF WARSHIPS AND OTHER STATE-OWNED SHIPS IN INTERNATIONAL LAW: THE 2015 RESOLUTION OF THE INSTITUT DE DROIT INTERNATIONAL

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The status in international law of operational warships and other ships used only on governmental non-commercial service has been long established. In contrast, the status of such vessels after they have sunk has been, and remains, a matter of considerable uncertainty. The uncertainty arises in no small part from the absence of any provision in the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea relating to sunken State vessels or, indeed, to wrecks more generally. Over the last 30 years, technological advances have led to the discovery of many new wreck sites, fuelling international interest in the status of sunken State wrecks. At its Santiago Session in 2007, the Institut de droit international established its 9th Scientific Commission to look into the matter. A Preliminary Report, drafted by the Commission’s Rapporteur, Professor Natalino Ronzitti, was discussed at the Rhodes Session in 2011 and, after further deliberations, a Resolution entitled “The Legal Regime of Wrecks of Warships and Other State-Owned Ships in International Law” was adopted by the Tallinn Session in August 2015. This contribution sets out the background to the work of the 9th Commission, outlines the substance of the Resolution, and offers some observations thereon.

10.1163/22116133-90000112
/content/journals/10.1163/22116133-90000112
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/content/journals/10.1163/22116133-90000112
2016-10-18
2016-12-08

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