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Updated: Mar 3, 2022


To provide definite laws to the International Courts. National Courts. and Tribunals and to stimulate the willingness of States to submit International disputes, codification gained momentum. The idea of codification first came from Bentharn. The declaration of rights of Nations--of 1792 of France was the first attempt. Abhe Gregorie drafted 21 articles for this purpose. However, the convention was not a success.

The first successful attempt was made at the First Hague Conference convened by Emperor Nicholas II of Russa in 1899, This showed the possibility of codification.

The conference .codified inter alia : ,

i) Pacific settlement of disputes : and ii) Law and custom of war on land. The second Hague Conference of 1907 passed 13 conventions. They relate to Maritime Navigation, rules of war. Neutrality and opening of Hostilities, etc., A parallel development in the ‘field was the peace Treaty of 1919. It provided for the League of Nations and the ILO and PCIJ. The League provided for an International Law Commission consisting of 15 .Jurists. Subjects which were ripe for codification were selected by them. Codification relating to nationality, territorial waters, privileges and immunities of Ambassadors etc., were successfully made.

The convention declared the renunciation of war as an instrument of National Policy (1929).

The codification of International Law conference met in 1930 provided for conflict of Nationality laws; and Statelessness. etc. Under the United Nations, the International Law Commission is charged with the duty of codification and progressive development of International law. There are now 34, members. Since 1948, the International Law Commission has conducted its deliberations and submitted its drafts. Codification has been made on many main topics .e.g., Privileges and Immunities of Ambassadors. & of consuls and treaty law, etc. ,

The Commission has endeavored to give clear expression where there is a common measure of agreement or uniform practice. Codification has been viewed as systemization & codification of principles agreed upon and (ii) agreement on hitherto divergent issues and practices.. Codification exposed the States to dangers of unanimity Rule. It also showed that certain States did not like to commit in writing what they were actually practicing. Further, uniformity in opinion was not available and lengthy preparations and discussions were inevitable. The earl i er Conferences coul d not , possi blyachi eve much:

The International Law Commission under the U.N. is almost free from the dangers stated above. Its work is commendable and laudable Progressive development means the preparation of draft convention on subjects which are not yet regulated or developed- Much work is done by the International Law Commission, e.g. Geneva conventions on the-Law of the Sea 1958. Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961, Vienna Convention on the law of Treaties 1969 etc.,

The modern trend is, towards the speedier method of international law making process: i.e. Treaties bi and multilateral This is called international legislation. The role of these law making treaties is considerable. The contributions of International court of Arbitration, P.Q.I.J. & I.C.J. are of great significance Apart from these, the part played by International.Law.Commission.. in formulating treaty-drafts, in respect of volume & area covered, are phenomenal. The processes in codification & progressive development of International law are confirming .on and have become part of law making in the field' of. International law.

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