The Permanent Court of International Justice, 1920-1942

By Manley O. Hudson; Bureau of International Research of Harvard University and Radcliffe College | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9 THE REVISION OF THE STATUTE

§121. Lack of Provision for Amendment. It is an unfortunate lacuna in the Statute of the Court annexed to the Protocol of Signature of December 16, 1920, that it makes no provision for amendments. The possibility of including such a provision was not discussed by the 1920 Committee of Jurists, nor does it seem to have been referred to when the draft-scheme was before the First Assembly. Yet it must have been obvious that no text could be framed which would be completely satisfactory for all time to come. The omission was the more singular because of the provision which had been made for the amendment of the Covenant of the League of Nations; Article 26 permits amendments to the Covenant to "take effect when ratified by the Members of the League whose representatives compose the Council and by a majority of the Members of the League whose representatives compose the Assembly," and it takes into account the general principle that a State cannot be bound by legislation to which it has not assented by providing that "no such amendment shall bind any Member of the League which signifies its dissent therefrom, but in that case it shall cease to be a Member of the League."1 The Covenant had not been in force for two years when various amendments were projected, including amendments to Article 26 itself, and some of these amendments have been brought into force.2 Moreover, provision had been made for the amendment of the constitution of the International Labor Organization; Article 422 of the Treaty of Versailles provides that amendments to Part XIII "which are adopted by the [International Labor] Conference by a majority of two-thirds of the votes cast by the Delegates present shall take effect when ratified by the States whose representatives compose the Council of the League of Nations and by

____________________
1
For a commentary on Article 26 of the Covenant, see Manley O. Hudson, "Amendment of the Covenant of the League of Nations", 38 Harvard Law Review ( 1925), pp. 903-942.
2
The amendments were embodied in fourteen protocols of October 5, 1921, two protocols of September 27, 1924, and one protocol of September 30, 1938. For the texts, see 1 Hudson, International Legislation, pp. 18-42; Records of Nineteenth Assembly, Plenary, p. 146.

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