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A Succession of Parties: When Does a State Succession Terminate a Contract?

Reg Fowler, 2015 International Mining and Oil & Gas Law, Development, and Investment

In 1998, the international community tried to agree upon principles governing a State's responsibility for its wrongful acts against the interest of other States.16 The question whether and in what circumstances a successor State could be held responsible for the wrongful acts of its predecessor was considered once more and once more only partially resolved. The report took note of the fact that the 1978 Convention expressly provided no guidance as to the effect of State succession on questions raised by military occupation of foreign territory, the outbreak of hostilities between States and State responsibility for wrongful acts generally.17 The principles on State Responsibility do take the analysis of State successions somewhat further by specifying that a State is not responsible for a wrongful act unless such act is attributable to such State18 and principles for attribution are set out in Chapter II. However, none of the Articles addresses State succession directly; it remains unclear how in most circumstances a [12-6] foreign investor or State on its behalf might seek redress for a wrongful act attributable to a predecessor State which may no longer exist. The emergence of South Sudan as one of the latest State successions brings this analysis up to date. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement between South Sudan and Sudan entered into in July 2011 which secured South Sudan