On December 10, 1982, in Montego Bay, Jamaica, 117 states signed a new and comprehensive Law of the Sea Convention. The complexity of this Convention (the M.B.C.), coupled with the lethargy with which states generally follow through with ratification, suggests that it may be years before the M.B.C. enters into force. This paper examines the significance of signature to the Convention. For many states an obligation not to defeat the object and purpose of a treaty between signature and entry into force exists; the degree of this obligation is examined. Additionally, certain states continue to be bound by the 1958 Geneva Conventions; this may affect the M.B.C. prior to entry into force. A wide range of behavior is permissible without defeating the object and purpose of a treaty (an irreversible harm test has been suggested); there are actually relatively few actions that clearly will defeat the object and purpose of the M.B.C, the best examples being in uses of the deep seabed. Overall, signature does create obligations, limited in scope and application, but still important.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Political Science and International Relations
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law