Article 35

35.1 Commentary

35.1.1 Depository of instruments

Due to the increasing number of multilateral agreements and their growing complexity, the practice to designate a ‘depositary’ of multilateral treaties came into being. Usually, treaties were prepared and signed in one copy only, which then was entrusted to one of the parties to the agreement. The depositary’s job was to prepare certified copies for all the parties, verify the acceptability of signatures, instruments and of corresponding reservations or declarations, and inform the respective parties through depositary notifications of any developments regarding the treaty – especially its entry into force.538

While in the past only states were depositaries, the establishment of the United Nations deemed it suitable for depositary functions. The treaties database of the UN contains information on the status of more than 500 important multilateral agreements deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations – including the instruments of states as they sign, ratify, accede or provide declarations, reservations or objections.539 As with other multilateral treaties of global interest (usually adopted by the UN General Assembly or concluded by conferences convened by the United Nations) the Secretary-General did accept the role of depositary for the UN Watercourses Convention.

538 See also Articles 76 and 77 of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (adopted 23 May 1969, entered into force 27 January 1980) 1155 UNTS 331 (Vienna Convention).

539 United Nations Treaty Collection (2011).

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